+ Helping Children Make Thoughtful Book Selections

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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.

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

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