making meaning out of text

Comprehension Includes:
  • Knowing the student’s background knowledge
    • What do you know?
    • What do you want to know?
    • What did you learn?
  • Understanding factors that can affect reading comprehension:
    • Word knowledge/Decoding skills
    • Fluency
    • Vocabulary
    • Motivation
  • Comprehension is reliant upon:
    • Reader factors-what readers bring to the reading process, including purpose, motivation and strategies they use to read
    • Text factors-author’s ideas, words used, organization and presentation of ideas
    • Activity or the purpose and task behind the reading

Comprehension Model

  • Reading Factors: A reader’s motivation and their reading strategies
  • Text Factors: The ideas, words, and organization/presentation of their ideas by the author
    • Activity: The purpose and text associated with the reading
Vocabulary Related to Comprehension:
  • Comprehension: The reader’s process of using prior experiences and the author’s text to construct meaning that is useful to the reader for a specific purpose. The goal of reading/why we all read.                                                                                                                                                                                 Irwin, 1991
  • Reading: a constructive process in which readers construct meaning by interacting with text
                                                                                                                            Pearson, Roehler, Dole, & Duffy, 1990
  • Linear text: printed text
  • Hypertext: electronic text
Ways to Help Students Develop Comprehension:
  • Strategies are conscious efforts, flexible, should only be applied when appropriate, are widely applicable, and can be overt or covert
  • Help students make connections to what they are reading
  • Apply strategies to different genres
  • Students don’t always need to try all strategies and they don’t need to go through the whole list
  • Strategies that you learn in kindergarten can be used all the way up and some can be used independently
  • Predict what will happen
  • Question what happens/answer questions about what did happen
  • Imagine what happens
  • Clarify what happens
  • Summarize what was read
  • Make inferences about the text
  • Use prior knowledge about the topic

  • What good readers do:
    • back things up
    • use strategies
    • build vocabulary
    • use context clues [around the word/the words that you know]
    • highlighting important things
    • specific questions to think about before reading
    • start early
    • discussion
    • small groups

  • What good teachers do:
    • teach strategies
    • build vocabulary
    • build background knowledge
    • provide opportunities to build comprehension
    • teach about the text
    • engage in discussion
    • encourage writing
    • create authentic learning
    • help students become/want to be motivated and engaged
    • more coaching individuals or small groups than telling the whole class at once
    • talk to students about what we do while we read
    • engage students in discussion to negotiate meanings and workshop things to learn thing they could have done better

Second Language Learners (SLL):
  • Meaning is not constructed from the individual words
  • Comprehension goes beyond the ability to read fluently and/or recognize words
  • Any number of issues can affect comprehension and these can occur for text, reader, and/or activity

Is a Student Having Trouble Comprehending?
  • Is the student having issues with word decoding or recognition (sight words)?
  •  Is the student having issues with fluency?
  •  What do you know about the student’s oral language?
  •  Is short-term or working memory an issue?
  •  How is the student’s primary language related to the language of the text?
  •  Is the issue related to an unfamiliarity with specific features or aspects of written language?
  •  What strategies, if any, is the student using?
  • How motivated is the student (for the material or activity?)
(Duke, Pressley, & Hilden, 2004)

Variations in issues with children who are struggling to comprehend:
  • Automatic word callers: good fluency, poor comprehension
  • Struggling word callers: some difficulty in word ID, though still stronger in fluency and word ID than meaning
  • Word stumblers: difficulty with word ID, but relatively strong in determining meaning
  • Slow and steady comprehenders: read slowly, but strong word ID and comprehension
  • Slow word callers: accurate yet slow in reading, poor comprehension
  • Disabled readers: difficulty in both word ID and comprehension                                                                                                                                                 
(Buly & Valencia, 2002)
Things to Remember:
  • Have to look beyond test scores
  • Triangulate your data
    • Formal assessments
    • Informal assessments
  • Determine if multiple causes might be at work (which is true in many cases)
  • Determine where the issue begins, rather than just looking at the end (comprehension)
  • Determine what the best course for instruction is based on the various causes (and what you can or can’t address)

Hypertext Strategies:
  • Relying on prior knowledge
    • of the topic
    • of the text structures
    • of structures of informational websites
    • of search engines on the web (to plan, predict, monitor and evaluate subsequent text)
  • Setting purpose
  • Reviewing and predicting
  • Finding main ideas
  • Minimizing disorientation
  • Evaluating text
  • Using literal matching skills (Did I find what I wanted to find?)
  • Based on structural and context clues (Often to make inferences about the text)

Word Callers:
  • Automatic: Have good fluency but don’t comprehend text as easily
  • Struggling: Have somewhat of a hard time recognizing words, but are still stronger in fluency and recognizing words than they are with the meaning
  • Word Stumblers: Have a hard time recognizing words, but can determine a word’s meaning fairly easily
  • Slow and Steady Comprehenders: Read slowly but can recognize words and are strong comprehenders
  • Slow: Accurate, yet slow readers who have a hard time with comprehension
  • Disabled Readers: Have a hard time with comprehension and recognizing words
(Riddle-Buly &Valenicia, 2002)