Reading comprehension is important for critical thinking skills and learning

9 Mar

Moi discussed the importance of reading in Reading is a key component of learning:
The goal of parents, teachers, students, and society should be that all children succeed in obtaining a good basic education. In order to achieve this goal, children must come to school ready to learn. See, Illiteracy in America https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/illiteracy-in-america/

The University of Michigan Health Center explains why reading is important in the article, Reading, Literacy and Your Child:

What is literacy?
Literacy means being able to read and write.
Why is reading important?
A child’s reading skills are important to their success in school and work. In addition, reading can be a fun and imaginative activity for children, which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them. Reading and writing are important ways we use language to communicate.
How do reading and language skills develop?
For an answer to this question, check out the following link:
• Language and Literacy Development from birth to three years—this helpful brochure tells you what to expect and how to help.
Research has identified five early reading skills that are all essential. They are [1]:
• Phonemic awareness—Being able to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.
• Phonics—Being able to connect the letters of written language with the sounds of spoken language.
• Vocabulary—The words kids need to know to communicate effectively.
• Reading comprehension—Being able to understand and get meaning from what has been read.
• Fluency (oral reading)—Being able to read text accurately and quickly.
How can we make reading part of our family’s lifestyle?
Parents play a critical role in helping their children develop not only the ability to read, but also an enjoyment of reading.
• Turn off the tube. Start by limiting your family’s television viewing time.
• Teach by example. If you have books, newspapers and magazines around your house, and your child sees you reading, then your child will learn that you value reading. You can’t over-estimate the value of modeling.
• Read together. Reading with your child is a great activity. It not only teaches your child that reading is important to you, but it also offers a chance to talk about the book, and often other issues will come up. Books can really open the lines of communication between parent and child.
• Hit the library. Try finding library books about current issues or interests in your family’s or child’s life, and then reading them together. For example, read a book about going to the dentist prior to your child’s next dental exam, or get some books about seashore life after a trip to the coast. If your child is obsessed with dragons, ask your librarian to recommend a good dragon novel for your child.
There are many ways to include reading in your child’s life, starting in babyhood, and continuing through the teen years. Focus on literacy activities that your child enjoys, so that reading is a treat, not a chore. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/reading.htm

Reading skills are particularly important in academic success because of “Common Core Standards Initiative.” The “Common
Core State Standards Initiative” is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards/english-language-arts-standards https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/reading-is-a-key-component-of-learning/

Samantha Cleaver wrote the article, 11 Tips to Turn Every Student Into a Close Reader:

Nurturing these higher-level skills takes time and many different techniques. You can begin to strengthen close reading in your classroom with these eleven expert tips.
1. Be a Close Reader Yourself
As you teach close reading, it’s important that you know the text backwards and forwards. Every time you raise an issue or ask a question for discussion (e.g. “How do we know that Macbeth feels guilty?”), you’ll know how to help your students find the textual evidence and where it’s located in the text. Modeling close reading through your class discussion is as important as direct instruction in close reading.
2. Teach “Stretch Texts”
The purpose for having students learn close reading skills, says Gillingham, is to enable them to read increasingly complex texts over time. As you choose texts to use with your students, think about your purpose behind each text. Look for stories or articles that raise authentic questions and could be interpreted differently depending on each student’s background knowledge or prior reading. If you’re working with a novel, focus on a section that lends itself to ambiguity and interpretation. And be sure to occasionally assign “stretch texts” in class. These are texts that you wouldn’t expect students to read independently, such as a critical essay or short piece of philosophy. “It’s a text that’s meant to be difficult,” says Gillingham, “and may require up to a week of study.”
3. Teach Students to Look for the Evidence
If your students leave your class understanding how to provide evidence from the text, consider your year an unqualified success. It’s the most central skill of the Common Core standards, says Elfreida Hiebert, President and CEO of Text Project. “The Common Core,” says Hiebert, “focuses our attention on what content the text is helping us gain.” Push students to go beyond recounting facts and plot points. As you’re planning, think about what higher order questions you can ask in class discussion and written assignments.
4. Always Set a Purpose for Reading
After your students have read a text through once, help them dig deeper by setting a specific purpose for reading it again. That purpose could be to track a concept or theme, or to analyze how an author uses a literary element or creates tone. Giving students something specific to focus on requires that they return to the text and really focus.
5. Differentiate Your Instruction
Even if students aren’t able to close read a novel independently, they can still apply strategies to a passage. Students may listen to an oral reading of the text, work in a small group with teacher support, or work with a partner to reread a text and prepare for discussion. If the majority of your class is not ready for independent close reading, keep in mind that the overarching idea is to get students to think about different ways that people can interpret text and build their own arguments around text, which can be done with picture books or read alouds as well as novels and short stories.
6. Focus on Making Connections
Rather than asking students a myriad of comprehension questions, focus their reading experiences around connecting with and remembering the text. Plan and ask questions that help you understand if students understand the text, and where they need to dig deeper into the big ideas. Hiebert suggests focusing on how the text relates to what the student has previously read, and what else they might learn about the topic after reading this selection.
7. Model it First
If students are new to close reading, spend time modeling how to think about a prompt and how to annotate the text. You might want to use a document camera to project pages of the text and read through and annotate a passage around a central question, modeling your thinking. After you do a few pages, release the work to students and have them take the lead.
8. Let Them Make Mistakes
If some of your students have clearly misinterpreted the text, ask them to explain their thinking or help you see the connection they’ve made. This gives them a great opportunity to practice finding textual evidence. Students may also chime in with other interpretations. The important thing is that students clarify and refine their thinking strategies, not that everyone has the same “right” answer.
9. Close Read Across the Curriculum
Once students are familiar with close reading in one content area, expand the process to other texts and content areas. Close reading can happen in science, social studies, math, and other subjects. Students can spend time delving into charts and graphs in science, discussing a math concept, or working to truly understand the various interpretations of a speech in social studies.
10. Use Student Questions to Drive Discussion
Here’s one technique to consider. During Great Books discussions, teachers start by compiling student and teacher questions that come from the text. Once the questions are compiled in a list, the teacher supports the students in reviewing all the questions, identifying ones that are similar and answering some of the factual questions that only require a short answer. Together, the class discusses the questions and decides which are the most interesting and worthy of further exploration. This is a great way to help your students learn to ask higher-order questions and to write good thesis statements.
11. Listen to Your Students
Along with close reading the text, you need to close read your students. When you begin to let students’ questions and ideas about the text take the lead, you’ll find your class will be much more invested in the reading. Your role will be to keep them grounded to the close reading process. If a student makes an assertion, can the class find the textual evidence for it? If not, why not? Is a new theory needed? As you probe into your students’ questions, you’ll learn more about where your students are and give them opportunities to engage deeper with the text. Ultimately, says Gillingham, “you are learning everything you can from your students.” https://fs24.formsite.com/edweek/images/WP-Great-Books-11-Tips-to-Turn-Every-Student-Into-a-Close-Reader.pdf

Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), the teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be active and involved. Parents are an important part because they enforce lessons learned at school by reading to their children and taking their children for regular library time.

Resources:

US Department Of Education Helping Series which are a number of pamphlets to help parents and caregivers http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/hyc.html

How Parents Can Help Their Child Prepare for School Assignments http://mathandreadinghelp.org/how_can_parents_help_their_child_prepare_for_school_assignments.html

Getting Young Children Ready to Learn http://www.classbrain.com/artread/publish/article_37.shtml

General Tips for Preparing for Kindergarten http://www.education.com/topic/preparing-for-kindergarten/

Classroom Strategies to Get Boys Reading http://gettingboystoread.com/content/classroom-strategies-get-boys-reading/

Me Read? A Practical Guide to Improving Boys Literacy Skills http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/brochure/meread/meread.pdf

Understanding Gender Differences: Strategies To Support Girls and Boys http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/PDFpubs/4423.pdf

Helping Underachieving Boys Read Well and Often http://www.ericdigests.org/2003-2/boys.html

Boys and Reading Strategies for Success
http://www.k12reader.com/boys-and-reading/

Related:

More research about the importance of reading
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/reading-literacy-and-your-child/

The slow reading movement
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

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