Vocabulary & Comprehension
Comprehension, the ability to understand and gain meaning from language, is closely related to a student’s background knowledge. Research about comprehension following the NRP report has confirmed the effectiveness of explicit teaching of multiple strategies. It is recommended students be taught to distinguish the elements of narrative and expository text and to apply specific comprehension strategies, including self-monitoring their own reading (metacognition), previewing the text and making predictions; organizing and retelling information presented; recognizing story structure; generating questions about the text; identifying main ideas and summarizing text passages; engaging in self questioning and visualization; and confirming or revising predictions (Carlisle & Rice, 2002; NICHHD, 2000; Pressley & Wharton-McDonald, 1997; Rosenshine, Meister, & Chapman, 1996).
Teacher-directed, explicit reading comprehension instruction should include the use of modeling, thinking aloud, questioning, summarizing, and other techniques that promote active construction of meaning (Moats, 2005). In addition, increasing the amount of time spent in reading appropriate level texts with teacher supports or scaffolds results not only in improved word reading but in comprehension as well (Kuhn et al., 2006).
Inferencing Graphic Organizer
This graphic organizer is designed to explicitly demonstrate an inferencing lesson.
Three graphic organizer templates are provided to adapt the lesson for Kindergarten through 3rd grades.
Helpful Context Clues by LD Online
It is also helpful to provide students with frequent reminders and examples of the different types of context clues. Using online tools, you can post the list of context clues (and some corresponding examples) on your class wiki, website, or blog. You can also display the list on the bulletin board in your classroom so that students can easily remind themselves about context clues. Students can also keep examples in their reading or writing portfolios.
Read Aloud Routine by The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk
The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk worked with K–3 teachers at Del Valle Independent School District to implement a new way of reading books aloud to enhance students’ vocabulary and comprehension. These flip books present a routine for teachers to use in their classrooms or caregivers to use at home.
Think-Pair-Share by Reading Rockets
How to use think-pair-share
- Decide upon the text to be read and develop the set of questions or prompts that target key content concepts.
- Describe the purpose of the strategy and provide guidelines for discussions.
- Model the procedure to ensure that students understand how to use the strategy.
- Monitor and support students as they work through the following:
- T : (Think) Teachers begin by asking a specific question about the text. Students “think” about what they know or have learned about the topic.
- P : (Pair) Each student should be paired with another student or a small group.
- S : (Share) Students share their thinking with their partner. Teachers expand the “share” into a whole-class discussion.
Source: Reading Rockets
Turn & Talk: An Evidence Based Practice (Teacher's Guide)
Turn and talk is an instructional routine in which students use content knowledge during a brief conversation with a peer. Students are provided with a short prompt to discuss content or a skill. Students turn to their predetermined partner and answer the prompt while their partner listens. Then, the partners switch roles to allow the second student to address the prompt. The turn-and-talk routine can be used across all content areas and at any grade level.
This guide explains the routine, and provides evidence of its effectiveness, sample lessons using the routine, and solutions to common challenges.
Teaching students to learn new words involves providing explicit instruction about important words from text and helping them learn strategies to independently learn new words. As texts increase in complexity, students need strategies to continue to expand their oral and written vocabulary abilities (Kamil et al., 2008; Loftus-Rattan & Coyne, 2013).
Conclusive research reported explicit vocabulary instruction in the early grades results in children learning more words (Graves & Silverman, 2011, citing Beck & McKeown, 2007). Explicit instruction about word meaning can be provided in many different ways: teachers can explain the meaning of a word, give students examples of a word in different contexts, assist students with word choice when writing, and ask children to give examples of how to use words.
Semantic Feature Analysis Grid by Reading Rockets
The semantic feature analysis strategy uses a grid to help kids explore how sets of things are related to one another. By completing and analyzing the grid, students are able to see connections, make predictions and master important concepts. This strategy enhances comprehension and vocabulary skills.
How to use semantic feature analysis
- Select a category or topic for the semantic feature analysis.
- Provide students with key vocabulary words and important features related to the topic.
- Vocabulary words should be listed down the left hand column and the features of the topic across the top row of the chart.
- Have students place a “+” sign in the matrix when a vocabulary word aligns with a particular feature of the topic. If the word does not align students may put a “–” in the grid. If students are unable to determine a relationship they may leave it blank.
Choosing Which Words to Teach
As a way to begin thinking about which words to teach, consider that words in the language have different levels of utility. In this regard, we have found our notion of tiers, as discussed in Chapter 1, to be one helpful lens through which to consider words for instructional attention. Recall that Tier One consists of the most basic words — clock, baby, happy — rarely requiring instruction in school. Tier Three includes words whose frequency of use is quite low, often being limited to specific domains — isotope, lathe, peninsula — and probably best learned when needed in a content area. Tier Two words are high-frequency words for mature language users — coincidence, absurd, industrious — and thus instruction in these words can add productively to an individual’s language ability.
Source: Reading Rockets