Working Together for Our Kids Conference
March 11th Bungaree Football Club
A New Approach to to Reading Comprehension by Chris Lowrey
Introduction by Andrew Harrison
Chris Lowrey is the director of 21st Century Literacy. He has taught and worked in classrooms and has decades of experience.He has been an Assistant Principal in Geelong with teaching experience in Canada and early teaching experience in rural schools and still teaching every day.
We started the session with a guess the author quiz.
Chris showed a variety of books that are suitable for comprehension . (The Night I followed the Dog by Nina Laden was recommended)
Today we will be ooking at 6 different comprehension strategies.-
Chris discussed the 'Conditions of Learning' first.
He said that independent reading often has a goal attached to it.
He advocated a print rich environment that is interactive with explicit demonstrations of feedback
Chris believes that effective conferencing helps students to become better readers and that quality conferring is a good assessment tool to use as well as testing
Children need to be given the opportunities to practice strategies and own them
Chris showed us a diagram of the 'gradual release of responsibility'
Starting with observation, participate, and practice
Teachers introduce, support and then observe.
We then recorded our reading strategies and discussed them at our tables.
Diane Snowball's reading strategy CD ROMS recommended and other references shared.
Table readings were then undertaken.
Issues arising from the reading include:
The need to teach discriminating and organising information that comes from access to multi literalise.
Teaching risk taking and prediction
All comprehension strategies need to be taught to all levels
Dialogue is important ( having a shared language of comprehension)
The importance of teaching vocabulary
Need to encourage children to discuss their strategies in reading.
Improving capacity of parents to help at home.
Developing a whole school comprehension program
Create headlines or try to write the first sentence/paragraph from a given headline.
( Make a prediction based on prior knowledge)
Also predicting words while reading text ( cloze activities)
Also written predictions while engaged in shared reading.
KWL Chart questioning tasks for non-fiction reading comprehension tasks
Using contents page in non-fiction books to link questions with the KWL.
Using Blooms taxonomy questions ( higher and lower order thinking and questioning skills)
Helping students to imagine or see elements from a text.
Read detailed descriptions of characters or settings and illustrate what you 'see'
This could be done independently or in shared reading with shared pen for illustrating.( Chris used the description of the barn from 'Charlotte's Web' as an example of how this can be done)
Children could highlight in a text where they are visualise things in a text and what their reaction is when they visualise .Visualising helps children to infer and connect to other books or personal experiences.
Have students reading passages for visualisation.
Think Aloud and inferring
Showing children a picture from a text before reading it and asking them to infer what might be happening. (textless books are also good for this) We have a good selection of textless books at Glen Park.
When using a big book or textless book and sharing it, Infer from the title first and then look through the book the teacher should talk aloud about his thinking and inferring when viewing the textless book (or a book where the text is covered up.)
Early years students don't summarise well they retell and that is good and they probably should retell / recall as they need to. Keeping learning logs: students explain in reading ( maybe using a mini reader) to explain in writing their understanding, points of confusion or experiences.
Using an ABC summary or glossary to help remember important ideas or information about a topic or book.
Create FAQ page for other students about what they have read or are reading.
Create a 'study cube' by adding 6 facts to remember on the cube from the text.
Compare and contrast using Venn diagrams
Study consequences by using cause and effect charts
Using sequencing and timelines
In text structures we use looking at plot, settings and characters in narrative and in non fiction we should use structures such as chronological order, cause and effect and compare and contrast as well as just listing facts.
This was a very valuable session. I picked up a lot of great ideas ( such as using textless books for think aloud inferring, more visualising activities and using 'headlines' for prediction) but also had reaffirmed to me that I am successfully using a lot if not all of Chris' recommended comprehension strategies. One idea I did pick up on was extending these ideas into the Early Years
Text-free books we have at Glen Park