Kids' Wings Advice
At any rate, do you have any personal suggestions for teaching comprehension? I have 5 students who comprehend nothing they read or anything that is read to them. Are they really not interested, too immature, really don't care, or what? I am in my 28th year of teaching and have never had children that couldn't remember something that we've read. It is very frustrating for me, so I know it has to be for them too. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
I believe parents and teachers are not reading aloud
enough to their children. In reading aloud, we are letting kids experience
high level vocabulary, character analysis, and plot development that they
aren't capable of reading on their own yet. We develop comprehension skills
through listening and discussing stories that are above their fluency
level. Then, when their fluency level increases to the point that they
can read these stories on their own, they also understand them!
I suggest that you become part of students' literature
group and work with them as you read a book or two. That way,
they get used to predicting, contributing, listening, writing, and connecting…
preparing the way for a time when they will gradually be weaned and you
won't have to be there with them. Doing the oral interchanges, model
writing, laughing and crying, and discussing before, during, and after
reading will establish and build those missing brain patterns, thought
patterns that will gradually become automatic. After awhile, the
kids will be having those conversations in their own heads...and reading
comprehension will be born! Letting students choose their own books is
ideal, but I have found that, unless they are hooked on reading already,
they don't know which books are the best! I would be sure to choose a
book that you know will really motivate them...Waiting
for the Magic is really wonderful, and The
One and Only Ivan, Wonder, and Earthquake
Terror are absolute kid-grabbers. I've found that skipping the
steps in the process will water down the comprehension process.
(I create the materials that will make it
easy for you, and will get the kids up and talking about books.)
"Life without books is meaningless; they are light
in the darkness."
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