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From “Mosaic of Thought: The Power of Comprehension Strategy Instruction” by Ellin Keene and Susan Zimmerman, helpful thoughts about guiding young readers to good, independent book choices.
Text Is Most Readable When Children:
- have schema (background knowledge) for the text content/author
- have schema for the format, print style, layout, density and illustrations/graphs
- can apply a comprehension strategy to leverage more meaning from both the narrative and expository text
- have had prereading experiences (hearing a read aloud from the text and/or discussion about the content or format)
- have a need and/or desire to comprehend
- have a history of or passion for reading
Variety Is Critical
Kids need to develop a wide range of interest and the capacity to move easily from genre to genre.
- they need to read in a variety of genres
- they need to read text that challenges them in different ways in both surface (decoding) and deep structure (comprehension) learning
- they should keep track of their choices (ensures variety; enables teachers to see if they’re reading high-quality material, genre-crossing and level-crossing)
- teachers need to ensure children gradually assume responsibility for selecting appropriate texts; they should continue to interact with them about their selections through the year
- MODELING — this is critical at repeated intervals; teacher should model ways they select and recommend books
- teachers should ask children to “field test” text — try a page or two or a section; think-aloud; use the “five finger rule:” put a finger down if they come to a word or idea that’s confusing (five fingers and this is not a good text for me)
source: “Mosaic of Thought: The Power of Comprehension Strategy Instruction” by Ellin Keene and Susan Zimmerman, publisher Heinemann. ISBN 10-0-325-01035-8.
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