Monday, September 7, 2015

Chapter 11 of The Reading Strategies Book with the "Crew"

Hello Friends! I'm Lauren and I am NOT "just" a teacher (and neither are any of you).  While I was having "my easy peasy summer off", I came across this post from Colleen at Literacy Loving Gals asking who wanted to do a book study for The Reading Strategies book by Jennifer Serravallo.  I ordered the book, which is a lil pricey, so I wanted to make sure that I was spending money wisely. It was TOTALLY worth it! 

Order the Book by Clicking Here
I feel like this book can be shared amongst teachers in my school at any grade. I teach fourth grade this year, but I already have ideas for my primary friends and my intermediate friends. I have a TON of ideas for my sweet English Language Learners too! I teach a Sheltered English classroom where my students struggle with comprehending simply because they spend a lot of time trying to understand the words that they are reading.  Jennifer Serravallo uses research that says, "...if students are truly to understand what they read, they must be able to UNDERSTAND, not only decode, upward of 95 percent of the words."  WHOA! Wow.... That sticks out to me sooooooo much!  I know that the chances of my students understanding 95 percent of what they read is a very tough expectation for me to be able to reach. But, I will try my VERY best because that is what they deserve. That is why I was so excited to get to blog about Chapter 11: Improving Comprehension by Understanding Vocabulary and Figurative Language. 



Another great part of this chapter is when they reiterate something that I have learned, seen firsthand, and been told, but many district curriculums don't always support..... 

That most word learning occurs unconsciously and naturally through normal reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Basically, we don't need fancy vocabulary programs to teach our kids vocabulary! We can guide and support them through the four domains of language acquisition and they will learn more words that way than studying vocabulary words in a structured program.  

And this is what Chapter 11 is all about. Here is a list of the strategies you can reference and have access to if you purchase this book.


Here are 3 strategies that caught my attention and I wanted to share with you!



11.3 Insert a Synonym

Levels: H and Above
Genre/Text Types: ANY
Skills: prior knowledge, monitoring meaning

Often times, authors use vivid vocabulary in texts. With my classroom of English Language Learners, most of the time, my students struggle most with what these words mean and how to say them. If they don't know a word, they aren't able to comprehend deeply. With this strategy, you ask students to insert another word that would make sense in the sentence.  The hardest part is when the students must read the sentence with the substituted word to see if the sentence still makes sense.

Here are some prompts to use when teaching this strategy:
What's going on so far?... So what might this word mean?
Try a word you know. Does that make sense?
Stick in a word that would make sense here.
What's another word the author might have used that would still make sense?




11.16 Be Word Conscious

Levels: M and Above
Genre/Text Types: ANY
Skills: monitoring meaning

I wish SOOOOOOOO badly that my students were taught this strategy much younger. This strategy asks 1 simple question of the students:
Do I know this word?

If the answer to that question is no, then they can apply strategies they know to try to figure it out. So many of my students read and read and read and read.... and then when I ask them what a word means, I get a blank stare. I wish they could see how this is affecting their ability to comprehend.  My hope is my students will learn to recognize words that they don't know. That is the first step. From there, we can add more strategies to their toolbox to help them figure it out.

Here are some prompts to use when teaching this strategy:
Do you know all the words?
What strategy can you try here to figure out a word?
Do you think you are reading too fast to notice words that you don't know?
Great job! You realized that there is a word you don't know.




11.19 It's Right There in the Sentence

Levels: M and Above
Genre/Text Types: nonfiction (mostly)
Skills: synthesizing

Authors often stick the definition of a challenging word right into the sentence where the word is. Students need to learn key words and other clues to find these definitions.  Help students to see key words such as: also, or, this is called, when reading nonfiction. Another clue is hidden in the punctuation. Commas and dashes are usually used to separate a challenging word from it definition. Students can find these clues very helpful, especially when reading science and social studies texts. 

This was my social studies text today! It fits in PERFECTLY with this strategy. My students were like #mindblown 



Here are some prompts to use when teaching this strategy:
Do you see any key words that tell you the definition is in the sentence?
Does the author explain the word?
Look at the punctuation. I think I see something that clues me in to a definition.
You're right, there's no definition for this word. For this one, you'll need to use a different strategy.


Jennifer Serravallo discusses giving students the knowledge of what goal they are working on. I find that when my students know what they need to work on, and specific strategies to focus on, they are more motivated and likely to succeed.  I created a handout for students to keep with their goals and strategies listed.  I would like students to take this with them for individual conferences and guided reading so that I can help assess how they are doing. Click below to grab this chart to use!


Hope you enjoyed these strategies that help us become better learners and teachers. Make sure to follow along with the whole book study! 

Next up is Matt at Digital: Divide and Conquer



1 comment:


  1. Reading Makes Your Child Smarter

    Reading is known to have numerous benefits. It increases your world knowledge, enhances your vocabulary, and works to improve your reading comprehension abilities.

    But did you know that reading can actually make you smarter?

    In fact, reading not only can make a child smarter, the very act of reading can even help to compensate for modest levels of cognitive ability in children by building their vocabulary and general knowledge! This is a finding reported by researchers Cunningham and Stanovich in a report titled "What Reading Does For the Mind".

    The simple fact here is that reading can make your child smarter, and that learning to read early on is directly linked to later success in life.

    1) Did you know that your child's vocabulary at 3 years old predicts his or her grade one reading success? [1]

    2) Did you know that vocabulary and reading ability in first grade strongly predicts grade 11 outcomes? [2]

    3) Did you know that your child's reading skill in grade 3 directly influences high school graduation? Studies have found that children who cannot read proficiently by grade 3 are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers! [3]

    >> Give your child the best possible head start. Teach your child to read today. Click here to learn how.

    But how do you teach a young child to read, and isn't that the job of the school and teachers?

    You can't be more wrong...

    With the right tools, knowledge, and techniques, teaching young children to read can be a simple and effective process. I'd like to introduce you to a fantastic reading program called Children Learning Reading, a super effective method for teaching children to read - even children as young as just 2 or 3 years old.

    The creators of this program have used it to teach their four children to read before age 3, and by reading, I mean real, phonetic reading.

    I can understand if you find that hard to believe... In fact, I had a difficult time believing it myself as well... that is, until I saw the videos they posted documenting the reading progress of the their children - not to mention all the videos other parents have sent in showcasing their children's reading progress after using the Children Learning Program. After learning more about their methods and techniques, it became clear how it's possible to teach young children to read effectively.

    It is truly within your ability to teach your child to read in a relatively short period of time spending just 10 to 15 minutes each day.

    >> Click here now to watch the videos and start teaching your child to read.

    1. Vocabulary Development and Instruction: A Prerequisite for School Learning
    Andrew Biemiller, University of Toronto

    2. Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later.
    Cunningham AE, Stanovich KE.

    3. Double Jeopardy How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation
    Donald J. Hernandez, Hunter College and the Graduate Center,

    ReplyDelete