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Think Alouds Encourage a Love for Reading in Two Easy Steps.

Posted by Dreu Adams on Sep 13, 2011 5:20:00 AM

think alouds reading strategy 150x200Successful readers have a variety of comprehension strategies in their reading "toolbox" that they can rely on during independent reading that help to secure a deep textual understanding, and ensure reading enjoyment. Teachers can promote these strategies and encourage a love of reading through a variety of Think Alouds with their students. (Davey, B. (1983). Think-aloud: Modeling the cognitive processes of reading comprehension. Journal of Reading, 27(1), 44-47.) Two important things teachers need to do during a Think Aloud are share their personal reading selections, and model behavior during read alouds in class for interpreting text.

  1. Share.
    Book talks in the K-6 classroom are an effective strategy for promoting reading and allowing the students to share their comprehension of the texts they are currently reading. A great way to support this activity is to have the teacher share as a Think Aloud with the class. You can start by bringing what you are currently reading into the classroom. Share the magazine you are reading for enjoyment, the novel that is part of your book club, the home improvement text you are using to master a new paint technique, or the professional book focused on a new teaching strategy. Explain to the students why you chose the book, what you've learned, and what comprehension strategies you've used while reading it. When the teacher links what he is reading to why he is reading it, students will begin to deeply understand reading for different purposes. Don't be afraid to be candid and enthusiastic about your personal reading choices; your students are very interested in you, and what you like to read.

  2. Model.
    Another benefit of a Think Aloud to promote comprehension strategies is for the teacher to explicitly model reading strategies and demonstrate when a reader would use them. For example, during a read aloud of a Marc Brown "Arthur" book, you may stop and say, "I wonder why Arthur and DW are always arguing in this story?" This Think Aloud models the strategy of questioning for the students and shows them how a reader would effectively question the author's text. Later, during the same read aloud you then may make the inference, "I think Arthur and DW are arguing because they don't like the family activity their parents chose." Not only have you modeled the strategy of making inferences, the Think Aloud also allows you the opportunity to explicitly make the connection between two comprehension strategies.

When you take care to choose an age-appropriate book, your Think Aloud strategy for reading comprehension will work wonders with your students. One useful site to explore is the PBS Bookfinder page, where you can find age-appropriate books through third grade for read alouds or independent reading, organized by subject.

To learn more about comprehension best practices, download our FREE K-6 Reading Comprehension Best Practices Guide, today—and help your students become the master readers they deserve to be!

Download our K-6 Reading Comprehension B


Image Credit: Old Shoe Woman Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

Tags: K-6 Reading, reading comprehension, reading strategies

Author’s Chair Doesn’t Have to be a Hot Seat.

Posted by Dreu Adams on Jul 19, 2011 10:26:00 AM

authors chair reading comprehensionReciting a personal piece of writing in front of a group can be challenging for young authors…as well as a source of stress. While uncomfortable at first, subjecting our written works to the opinions of others can reveal flaws and imperfections, but the process almost always makes us better writers.

The Author’s Chair is a common strategy for grades 3-6 to improve writing as well as reading comprehension. It allows students the experience of having their work evaluated among peers at an early age, and can get them accustomed to handling constructive criticism gracefully. Group members take turns listening to each other’s work and provide positive feedback to the author. Teachers should model and guide positive audience responses. There is nothing to be gained by allowing an Author’s Chair activity to turn into a proverbial “hot seat” for beginner writers!

There are various ways to accomplish the Author’s Chair exercise, but regardless of the exact execution, the benefits are great. The simple practice of presenting one’s own written thoughts to a group can be gratifying to a young author, offering greater self confidence as its reward. In turn, the audience benefits from practicing active-listening skills during the presentation. Listeners also learn to simultaneously engage in critical thinking to provide coherent feedback to the author.

The Author’s Chair is just one of a dozen strategies offered in our K-6 Reading Comprehension Best Practices Guide that you could be using in your classroom today.

Challenge your students to be better readers, thinkers and writers!

Download our K-6 Reading Comprehension B

Tags: K-6 Reading, reading comprehension, Classroom Reading Strategies

A Crash Course in Comprehension: For the Master Teacher in all of us.

Posted by Dreu Adams on Jun 16, 2011 11:40:00 AM

describe the imageWhile we’re the first to admit that a singular focus on test scores is a simplistic view of education, and an even more simplistic view of what teachers do every day, we cannot deny the high stakes testing climate we are living in. And neither can you.

That’s why we’ve put together a collection of useful information that can help K-6 teachers prepare a meaningful literacy environment in the classroom. We’re offering relevant material designed to get students reading and writing, with vigor! These contents are probably nothing new under the sun, but rather they serve as reminders of some of the best ways we’ve found to inspire young readers to do their best. From checklists to time-tested strategies, there’s something for every teacher, at every experience level.

Collaboration is the key to surviving and maybe even thriving in a high stakes environment. Let us be part of your professional learning community. Download our new K-6 Reading Comprehension Best Practices Guide today. And be ready for anything that swerves in your path.

Download our K-6 Reading Comprehension B

Tags: K-6 Reading, reading comprehension

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