A new week, a new month, a new year and a new series of posts on Nurturing Literacy. I think it’s important for parents to have a general understanding of the “best practices” used in Education today and be able to help their children implement them at home. Over the next few weeks, I will provide an overview of the current practices used to teach reading comprehension across the country. Consider each post a brief tutorial that will familiarize you with the strategies and provide some ideas of when you may want to prompt your child to use it at home. Please feel free to ask questions and add your thoughts so that we can all engage in discussion and learning.
STRATEGY #1: Previewing Text
Although this sounds self-explanatory, there is a definite purpose and protocol to using this strategy. Whether previewing fiction or non-fiction text, the purpose is to begin the thinking process. The purpose is to activate background knowledge and begin to generate questions that you want answered. The purpose it to intentionally set yourself up for success and not simply dive in cold.
Previewing fictional text is relatively simple because there are not as many text features to consider. Be it a fictional book or a short story, students are basically taught to:
1. Look at the cover and consider the title, the author, and the genre.
2. Read the inside blurb (if a book) and review any pictures.
3. Consider what the story will be about (predict) and support the prediction.
When reading fictional text, the prediction serves as a hook, a reason to stay focused and see if the prediction is confirmed or needs to be revised. Using the strategy of predicting arouses interest, activates background knowledges and provides a level of engagement (so important for proficient comprehension) right at the start. Just a few minutes to warm-up can make a difference and enhance a reader’s ability to follow a story line and comprehend the text.
Try encouraging your child to preview the text the next time he is about to crack open a new book or story. Check back for my next post when I’ll discuss the steps for previewing informational text and feel free to chime in with your questions or comments.
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Since modeling reading in the home is so important, I’d like to begin the New Year by recommending an adult book you might enjoy. Happy reading in 2017!
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah is the story of a seemingly cold-hearted mother and the relationship she has with her two daughters. It also explores the relationship that the sister have with one another. All family members suffer from the mother’s lack of affection but when Anya, one of the sisters forces the mother to tell her “fairytale” they learn that there is more to their mother than meets the eye. The reader is transported to war-torn Leningrad as we learn the secrets that have lived within the mother’s heart. A slow start leads to a satisfying ending in this unusual novel.