A Reading Comprehension Strategy Education Essay

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Key Points of the Challenge were: 1) identify reasons why it is appropriate to teach reading comprehension strategies in content-area classes; 2) identify how teachers can assist students with improving their reading comprehension; and 3) explain how reading comprehension can be implemented in content-area classes.

Initial Thoughts

My initial thoughts are reasons to teach reading comprehension strategies in content-area classes are that it helps students understand that specific topic and will perhaps keep them interested in it; it will assist students with becoming familiar with words related to that subject; and it gives students an opportunity for focused study. To improve student reading comprehension teachers can assess to see where students struggle as they read and provide focused instruction in that area. Content can be used to assist students with their comprehension of the subject matter by focusing on decoding words and finding meaning for them.

Key Points in Perspectives and Resource

The reading comprehension skills of identifying simple facts present in written text, making judgments about the written text, and connecting the text to other written passages and situations are the skills students need in order to understand the subject matter. The module identifies the following as factors that influence a student's comprehension of texts: a) the student themselves (their prior learning and cognitive abilities); b) the text; c) the instructional activity; and d) the environment that the student is in as they are reading.

Using comprehension strategies that include using prior knowledge, vocabulary development, using questioning techniques, and practicing new skills enable struggling readers to improve their comprehension skills. Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) is composed of the above mention comprehension strategies.

CSR gives students access to content-area instruction and it was developed for use by classroom teachers to assist students at-risk and those with disabilities.

For classrooms using the RTI approach CSR is a great Tier 1 strategy to use.

To support students in learning the CSR technique, teachers must provide opportunities for students to practice CSR as they monitor, support and provide feedback to students while they are enhancing their skills.

The CSR model for learning reading comprehension skills has four distinct strategies. The first is Preview. At this level students brainstorm and make predictions about the text. As students read their text they use the second strategy which is called Clink and Clunk. In this stage students use previously learned techniques to decode unknown words, Clink. Or Clunks are used where students use other steps such as re-reading the sentence to look for clues and looking for prefixes or suffixes to assist them in decoding unknown words. The third strategy is "Get the Gist". In this stage the student identifies the main idea and restates it in ten words or less. The fourth and final strategy is the Wrap Up. In this stage students ask questions about the text and review important ideas.

CSR can be implemented in the classroom in cooperative learning groups where everyone dons a strategic role for participating.

Using CSR with cooperative learning has been found to significantly benefit English Learners.

Students should master CSR group roles (strategies) before they use them independently.

Having students use Learning Logs to track their learning will support students as they enhance their CSR skills.

Assessment

I did well in answering most of the assessment questions. I had to review the six CSR roles because I had categorized them differently in my head. I had not included the timekeeper and announcer as significant roles. I also had to review the teaching methods because I had not identified them as specific methods for teaching the CSR roles.

Reflection

Using the Collaborative Strategic Reading model is an effective way for general education middle or high school teachers to teach a method of reading comprehension skills to students in specific content-areas like science and social studies. By using the CSR techniques students learn to scan text and identify what they already know about it (Preview text) , decode words they don't know by using Clinks and Clunks, identify the main points of the text (Get the Gist), and Wrap Up by summarizing what they understand about the text.

Students benefit from using cooperative learning as they implement the strategies they learned to improve their comprehension of the text. When students are taught the CSR techniques in content specific classes they are able to apply the strategies to focused text. They are able to assist each other in learning new material related to the vocabulary introduce in the topic.

It is important for the teacher to be an active participant in assisting students to understand the concept of CSR and to model its use. I envision students benefiting from this method not only by improving their reading comprehension skills but in being more engaged in the learning process.

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