This chapter is about building comprehension and that is the main thing I want to get out of this class. The first section of this chapter talks about the Schema Theory. Schema is a generic concept, composed of our past experiences and our knowledge organized and filed away. We have many schema. They are used for almost everything that we store in our memory. Now this section started off by talking about an ad about farming. That caught my eye right away. I was thinking this will be a good chapter because it is about comprehension, which I am very interested in, and it is starting out by talking about farming. By the time I got to the end of the schema section I find out the type of farming they are talking about is real estate farming and not real farming. That is not what I expected when I was reading. The author was the same way. That was our schema working. We saw farming and our schema took us to think about farms and agriculture, but the ad was about real estate.
Another section in this chapter is causes of comprehension difficulty. This section shows us that there are many reasons why someone might have a problem with comprehension. A few of those reasons are lack of basic decoding skills, limited vocabulary, overuse of background knowledge, failure to read for meaning and more.
Meta-cognitive awareness is the ability to think about our cognitive processes. There are many people that do not have this ability. They are usually a low achieving reader. They do not know any better. Most of us would know if we are not understanding what we are reading. When I started this paragraph, I thought of Sarah and how she could read a whole page and then not remember a thing she reads. I don’t know if she falls under this or not. She realizes it and then she re reads, but she could get stuck and have to re read over and over again, so she gets frustrated and she gives up. There are many people that are like that.
Chapter 9 talked about syllabic, morphemic, and conceptual analysis and dictionary usage, and Chapter 10 has taken it to the next level. It gives us the techniques to teach new words and strategies for learning them. The anticipation guide has brought some good statements to look at in this chapter. “Having a limited vocabulary is the major cause for poor comprehension.” I have to agree with this statement. If a child does not have a wide vocabulary then they will not know what the meaning of the words they are reading. “Nearly all low-achieving readers have a less well developed vocabulary than do achieving readers.” I do not entirely agree with this statement. The child I am working with is not the best reader, but he has a great vocabulary. He has trouble reading the words, but when He figures them out he knows what they mean. There are times when He has so much trouble with a word and I have to tell him what the word is, so I ask him if he knows what it means and he is able to tell me what the word means. “Instruction is bound to have a positive impact on comprehension.” I agree with this statement. The more words children know the better they will understand what they are reading.
The part of the chapter that caught my interest was the principles of vocabulary instruction. When you are given a student that has a problem with reading the first step is to find out what level of reading they are at. You then have to build on what they know. When they are learning new words, use their experiences to help them understand what the word means. We need to relate the words to their lives. If a student is having trouble with comprehension or just having trouble reading the words, by giving them clues and examples from their lives, it will give them something to remember the words. That is why giving a book that a student is interested in, they will gladly read that book over a book about something they have no interest reading. Take the student I am helping in one of my classes. I have worked with him twice now. He is a very slow reader, but he loves to read about horses and dirt bikes. If you give him a book on horses or dirt bikes he remembers what he reads for the most part, but if you give him a book on cars, he wont remember what he is reading, because he has no interest in cars. Learning new words can be difficult thing to do for some people, but if they are taught the right way it can be fun for them.
This chapter has good information on how to help readers with words that have trouble with multisyllabic words. There are many children that have problems with multisyllabic words and they are usually the older children. The student I work with is in the 5th grade, so he is considered on the older side. Other than some words that confuse him like the gh sounding words he can handle the single syllable words. He mainly has trouble with the multisyllibic words. Chapter 9 has shown me a way to help him with those words. A good way to use this approach is the concept of syllables lesson. Using animal names is a great way. Children love animals. They already know the words for the names hopefully, so this will be an easy way to get them to understand syllables.
Other ways to help students are with prefixes and suffixes. Once they get a word down you can add a prefix and a suffix to it. They take a one syllable word and make it into a multisylabic word. You can show them how the word changes and hopefully they will see the difference and will be able to read the new words.
This has been the longest chapter I have ever read. There is a good reason for it being that long though. There is so much information that we need to know about teaching phonics, high frequency words and fluency. You know how English is supposed to be the hardest language to learn? There is a good reason for that. The vowels and consonants do not always sound the same. For example. At field work yesterday, I was going over a word list with my student and he was doing fine until he got to three words. The first word was enough, though, and rough. the gh sound is in my opinion the most ridiculous sound there is. It changes way to much. When he got to the word enough, he had trouble getting the f sound from gh. When I told him it was enough, he didn’t believe me because ph makes the f sound. Then we get to though, and he pronounces it thoufs because the word has a gh and he learned that gh makes the f sound. English is not only the hardest language to learn, it is also going to be a hard language to teach. I have two brothers that like to joke around that the english language is incorrect because the letters make different sounds when they are put together in different ways, like enough, though, and rough. I sometimes agree with them. Sometimes words do not follow the rules. This is where teaching phonics becomes important.
Vowels will be the first thing taught in phonics. Vowels are the building blocks to the language. You cannot teach a word without as vowel in it. When teaching vowels, you have to make sure you make the point of variability in vowels. We have to teach them that there are words that make different sounds when spelled different ways. For the most part vowels have the same couple sounds, but once in awhile they sound different. That is what makes the English language so hard. You might think you have it figured out and then you find a word that doesn’t follow the rules. There are many people that only speak English and find words they don’t know how to speak because they don’t follow the rules. It is not only vowels that change sounds. When you combine consonants, they can change sounds as well. For example, ph make a f sound as does the gh in some words. The consonants can be a bigger problem than the vowels. This is why it is good to give word lists with many words that do not follow the rules, so that we can get our students to think out side the box once in a while. They need to know certain words will not be pronounce the way they think they should be.
Chapter 7 is all about emergent literacy and preventive programs. So what is emergent literacy? Emergent literacy is reading and writing concepts and behaviors of young children that develop into conventional reading and writing. Emergent literacy recognizes that all students who come into school have knowledge of and experience reading and writing, the thing is the knowledge and experience varies from student to student. I think this is true to some extent. I believe that most students will be in this category, they have some idea about writing and reading. By first grade they should be able to read and write at least their names. I have two nieces that are just starting school. One in First and on in pre-school. The oldest learned to read in pre-school and took off with her reading. She is now reading third or fourth grade material. She could actually skip a grade if her parents wanted her to. Her sister is in pre-school now and she could read going into pre-school. Her sister taught her to read. They are both very bright and are on the high end of the reading spectrum. They were both read to everyday and had many many books to read on their own. Now what about the kids that did not have the parents that read to them or the many many books to read from. There are kids that have not touched a book before school. They will not be able to read let alone write their names. The thing that they will be able to do is scribble. This is an early stage in their development. They just were not exposed to reading and writing and were not allowed to develop themselves.
To help these children that cannot read or write there are programs to prevent them from having reading problems in their later years in school. Some of the programs are High Scope, which is for children between 3-5 years. Opening the World of Learning is intended for children from low income families. Para Los Ninos if for 4 year old Spanish speaking preschool children. There are others as well.
This chapter has to deal with assessment and intelligence tests. How does one know how intelligent one person is. Well in the past we have given a academic test, obtain the students listening capacity, or give them an opportunity to learn and see how they do. Overall the testing of intelligence is controversial. One problem the tests have is they are biased against poor readers. For example students that are poor readers have read less and the information on theses tests is information that students pick up on from reading. Another problem of the intelligence test is it lowers expectations. They lead to an underestimation of what students can do, Just because someone is poor at reading does not mean they are not intelligent. I know people that have a hard time at reading and comprehending what they read but they are very intelligent at many things.
The one thing I believe intelligence tests do well is they show us where people need help with their reading. The chapter mentions Frank a 8 year old reading at a first grade level. When administered the test it showed us that Frank was very intelligent. He was in the top 1 percent of the population. The teacher was able to realize he should be reading higher then his grade level and she got him extra help. I am appreciative of the resources we have today to use for students like Frank. If Frank would have been at school more 15 or more years ago he probably would not have gotten the help that he needs. I know when Sarah was in the 1st to 3rd grade she did not get the help she needed. Now she is paying the price of not being able to read very well. It is not just the Franks or the intelligent kids that need help. Everyone should be getting the help they need to succeed in school. It irritates me that schools have a limit on who gets help and who doesn’t based off of intelligence. Sarah scored just high enough, barley, and she was told she didn’t need help. Her sister scored just lower than she did and got help and now is a better reader than Sarah. This is all because of what a certain school thought based off of a test. If someone is struggling a test is a good way to figure out why. Just make sure you follow up with something that will help them. Don’t blow them off.
As I started reading this chapter I was asked some questions that I have wondered about myself for sometime. How am I going to teach students with difficulties. I have a hard time reading at times myself. This chapter will have the answers I have needed to tell me how I will answer those questions. Finally some answers! The post I did for my Annotated Bibliography was about Reading comprehension. So the section on Reading Processes: Comprehension was something I looked forward to reading about. This is a big section for me because I want to know what can be done to help with my students reading comprehension. That is one of my fears as a soon to be teacher, that I will not be able to help with struggling readers. There is some really good information in this section. It talks about the different kinds of tests that test comprehension, like standardized tests. Standardized tests can be good for comprehension but they do not truly show if they understand it because it is guessing for the answer. A good test for comprehension is the informal reading inventory as the students have to write what they know. There is no guess work. One of the biggest parts of comprehension is background knowledge. To see if someone understands the subject area would be to see what their background knowledge is. A good way to assess their background knowledge is to use classroom discussions. This chapter has been very useful for me and I will take this information to heart and use it as a teacher.