"I Can’t Remember or Understand What I Just Read!"
Here’s a teaching strategy to improve recall and overall comprehension of a text:
Begin by asking the students to visualize (imagine, picture) what they read in their heads as they read, stopping periodically to first, model what you are visualizing (“I’m picturing her face looking angry. It’s red and her fists are clenched…”). Ask the students what they are picturing. Stop after each part of the story (beginning, middle, end). At each stopping point, ask the students to verbalize the part (beg., mid., end) as they visualize it. Then, have them draw what they visualized. After reading the whole text, ask students to use their drawings to retell the story’s beginning, middle, and end. Lastly, write a sentence or two next to each picture in order to produce a complete retelling. (Tip: For added support, give students sentence frames… i.e. In the beginning, ___.)
The text can be read round robin style of reading with a small group or as a mini-lesson with the whole class.
Scaffold the approach by gradually releasing responsibility (i.e. allow the student to identify the beginning, middle and end, instead of explicitly stating it and determining it for students).
You can also use this approach with non-fiction. Vary the strategy by stopping after reading each section, and model what you visualized (i.e. “I pictured the frog in my head changing from an egg to a…”). Ask the students what they pictured. Then, have them draw what they visualized. After reading the whole text, ask students to use their drawings to retell the main idea and supporting details. Lastly, write a sentence or two next to each picture in order to produce a complete retelling. (Tip: For added support, give students sentence frames… i.e. Frogs change from ___.)
Check out my "See & Say" Reading Comprehension Strategy:
AND compatible graphic organizer for retellings...
Tip: I have my students complete retelling sheets after each book we read ...BUT... since paper is a hot commodity along with a teacher's time which can be saved from copying, I place my retelling sheets inside these pockets so I can have them for the ENTIRE school year... yes, you read that correctly!
Some of our students are reading over two years below grade level! This is not only shocking, but can also seem like a daunting task!
So how do we ever get these students to grade level?
We have to create comprehensive guided reading lesson plans.
First, assess your students. Determine their lagging skills.
Students usually fall into two categories for what is holding them back in reading.
The first group are those that struggle with decoding (sounding words out). The second are the students who are unable to summarize, retell, or answer questions about a text. This is the comprehension group.
If your students are struggling with decoding, use a phonics skill lesson plan for short targeted practice. If your students are struggling with comprehension, use a comprehension skill and strategy lesson alongside your guided reading lesson. If students are lagging in both areas, use a daily or weekly integrated plan to target both areas simultaneously.
Students who are typically reading significantly below grade level require an integrated approach to reading, targeting both areas: phonics and comprehension.
Comprehensive guided reading lesson plans should incorporate:
-extensive teacher-student interaction,
-multisensory learning methods,
-all components of reading: decoding (single word accuracy/automaticity), comprehension, vocabulary, sight word, fluency, plus + encoding,
-special emphasis upon mastery of foundational reading skills and...
-independent application of comprehension strategies to help ALL students access the general education curriculum!
Check out some Comprehensive guided reading lesson plans!
Related Blog Posts...
The overarching goal of 21st century education is to equip today’s students with the ability to analyze, evaluate, and create; all of which are the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Our states’ standardized testing assesses our students’ capabilities on Bloom’s high-ranking skills of analysis, evaluation, and creation through text-based constructed responses to open ended questions. For example, a student may be asked to explain the relationship between two characters in a text. Directions to this response will include citing evidence from the text to support the student’s answer.
First, a student needs to read and comprehend the text. These are the lower levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Next, the student must analyze the text in relationship to the question and make an evaluation to answer the question. Finally, the student must create a written response that supports his/her claim.
In order to begin building our learners toward mastery of high level educational learning objectives, we must support our students with appropriate and supportive instruction and environments. Think scaffolded supports!
Learners do not just enter our schoolroom doors, equipped with these learning superpowers. Instead, we must teach our students to mastery.
One strategy I keep in my toolkit is teaching students how to explain their reasoning, and here is one way I do that!
First, I prep! I put quotes from our texts on chart paper.
To incorporate some movement for my kinesthetic learners, I hang the quotes around the classroom.
Students are partnered or grouped. They are then given 7 minutes at each quote. They must use this time to...
-read the quote
-discuss its meaning
-narrow the meaning down to one sentence
-write the meaning down, and finally…
-support your answer with textual evidence.
This activity allows my students to master the learning process with the support of their fellow learners, wrestle and engage with the curriculum, learn to work in a cooperative learning group, and own and guide their own learning, AND I get to use my doorbell for transition times!
What are some ways that you teach students how to analyze and explain their learning?
~By Miss Rae
There are a few tools that EVERY Special Education teacher should have on hand… a candy bar for tough days, a few dollars in your drawer for all of those EXTRA donations, some mints to pop before a meeting, a trusted colleague whose on hand for venting without judgment, and the list goes on…
But there are only TWO Must Have Special Education Teacher Tools for Teaching Reading!
ONE: A Drawer Full of Tools!
Every guided reading table needs to have a drawer full of tools on hand!
Fill your drawer with the best supports for your students’ needs.
Special Education teaching tools should allow Special Education students to easily access the general education curriculum!
Here are the TOOLS my DRAWER is stocked with:
-Guided Reading Strips
-Creepy Witch Fingers or any gimmicky tool for tracking
to strengthen visual tracking for fluency and decoding!
-Strategy cards (decoding and comprehension)
to reinforce and support learned strategies!
-Comprehension discussion cards or sticks
to increase oral discussion and promote text comprehension!
Sight Word flashcards
to learn and practice decoding and word reading for fluency!
-Paper graphic organizers
-Pencils, notebooks or paper, and BIG erasers
to support varying instructional activities from practice to assessment!
to support encoding (spelling) through a multisensory activity!
because what isn’t more engaging than writing your sight words in shaving cream?!
I also keep cookie sheets with magnet letters to practice encoding (spelling) on top of my drawer along with any assistive tech devices!
TWO: A Guided Reading Binder
A Guided Reading Tool Binder allows a teacher to easily plan for varied multi-sensory activities without copying, reinventing the wheel, or spending more time creating or buying on learning games.
A Guided Reading Tool Binder can also keep differentiated tools on hand for each learner’s needs.
A Guided Reading Tool Binder should include...
-Lesson plan formats for specialized programs
-Scope and sequence charts for specialized programs
to support a teacher’s own learning - and remembering!
-Checklist of reading behaviors
to notice, teach, and support at each reading level for instructional planning and progress monitoring!
Make 5-6 copies (enough for each student in a small group to have his/her own) and place the following in top loading sheet protectors. Students can write on these with dry erase markers and erase for re-use.
to practice encoding using word chains for spelling...
(at - cat - scat)
or to increase vocabulary!
(write the word at - add one letter to at to spell a word for an animal that purrs - add a letter to cat to create a word that means to run away)
to sort dictated words by spelling patterns to support phonics skills!
-Elkonin sound boxes
to build phonological awareness!
-Word Sort Mats
to increase phonics skills!
-Word detective charts
where students hunt and locate specific words or word patterns in texts to reinforce learned phonics skills! Words are recorded along with the page number of their location.
-Graphic organizers that can be used for all texts
to promote comprehension!
Pull out any of your drawer or binder tools as instructional supports within your lesson plan, to increase engagement, AND as time fillers - if you are ever lucky enough to get through everything you planned AND have extra time!
(Disclaimer: If you are one of the lucky few who is a traveling teacher, carry your tools in a supply caddy or a bag that can be easily organizer.)
~By Miss Rae
Hi! I'm Miss Rae! I'm a Special Education Coordinator with a passion for creating research-based resources for DiVeRSe learners.