Strategies That Work
Chapter 1 and Chapter 2
In Chapter 1 of Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement--2nd Edition by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis, we learned that thinking is not only a huge part of reading; reading IS thinking. As we read, thoughts, knowledge, and prior experiences come to mind. Strategic readers will use these thoughts to to make connections and ask questions that will help them make better sense of what they are reading.
When we read, we are decoding words as well as making meaning of the words. As teachers, we need to teach our students not only how to decode words, but also to understand the words and concepts that they are reading about. We must enhance understanding for our young readers because if they can not understand and comprehend what they are reading, why read at all?
In this chapter, we learned a few strategies that we can teach our students to use in order to construct meaning from the text that they are reading. A few of these strategies are: 1) Searching for connections between what they know and the new information that they are encountering. 2) Asking questions of themselves, the authors they encounter, and the texts they read. 3) Drawing inferences during and after reading, and 4) Distinguishing important from less important ideas in the text. These are just a few examples of strategies that work for proficient readers.
We also learned that using explicit instruction when teaching reading is extremely important. It is much more effective to show children how to do something rather than just telling them what they are supposed to be doing. A good way to do this is to model strategies such as questioning, visualizing, and making connections while reading aloud to the class. When students know how to use strategies in order to connect and engage with a story, they will be more likely to look forward to reading.
Chapter 2: Reading Is Strategic
In this chapter, we learned that proficient readers are strategic and read with a purpose. The purpose of reading is always understanding. We must teach our students to adapt strategies to use to achieve their purpose for reading. In order to determine which strategies are best for which purposes, we must be aware of how a student thinks and uses strategies when they are reading.
We learned that there are four common types of learners/readers. These are 1) Tacit learners/readers, 2) Aware learners/readers, 3) Strategic learners/readers, and 4) Reflective learners/readers. If we can teach our students comprehension strategies as well as when/how to use these strategies, they will always be able to construct meaning as they read.
Sometimes, students will be so focused on trying to decode the words that they won't be as concerned about making meaning of what they are reading. We want students to be able to monitor their own reading and be aware of when they are or are not understanding something. If they can realize that they are having a problem with comprehension, hopefully they will be able to choose a strategy to use that aligns with their purpose for reading in order to help them further understand what they are reading. This is the goal, and if we have taught them well, they will be able to apply these strategies on their own in time.
"Questions are at the heart of teaching and learning. Human beings are driven to make sense of their world. Questions open the doors to understanding. Questioning is the strategy that propels readers forward."
"Meaning doesn't arrive fully dressed on a platter. Readers make meaning."
Professor Lane Clarke
EDU 382 A
January 27, 2016