Reading Recipe: Comprehension

Comprehension

“Comprehension Achieved,” was the headlines from the Daily Reader. “Hmmm,” thought the detective. “I wonder if it’s finally true. After years, of developing the scaffolding for comprehension and the amount of vocabulary that went into this,” the detective said aloud. A passerby said, “Sure is, they were able to decipher the code and then they built Fluency.” Another voice chimed in, “Don’t forget the visualization that went into the project.” “Ah, yes,” said the detective. I thought as much. I’m just not convinced it’s true. The newsboy piped in, “Read all about it in today’s paper.” The detective paid the paperboy and started to read….

Comprehension

When a student understands the meaning of a text, that student has reached comprehension. Comprehension is a cumulative process for a reader. David Sousa (2006), defines comprehension as, “… a complex interactive process that begins with identifying words by using knowledge outside of the text, accessing word meaning in context, recognizing grammatical structures, drawing inferences, and monitoring oneself to ensure that the text is making sense” (p. 187). For a student to understand a text, several needs need to be met:

  • background knowledge to build upon the scaffolding
  • distinguish the meaning of words or phrases in different contexts using vocabulary skills
  • Print concepts to distinguish structures in text
  • sense of fluency (created from phonics and phonemic awareness)
  • skill of visualization.

All of these components build towards comprehension of text.

Sousa, D. (2006). How the brain learns: Third edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

A wide smile grew across the detective’s face as he finished. He neatly folding and tucked the newspaper under his arm as he walked away.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

Advertisements

Reading Recipe: Fluency

Fluency

Once upon a time there was a race car driver and he needed speed for his reading car. He often would run out of gas and he couldn’t figure out why. He was able to decode the words as he was running down the race track. So he asked his pit boss, “Why am I not able to finish on time and understand what I have read?” His pit boss told him he needed to know lots of site words, be able to decode unknown words, and to know why you are reading. The pit boss handed him a brochure with information on fluency. The race car drive sat down and started to read.

Fluency

When text is uninterrupted by decoding, the reading of the text is fluid, and expressive fluency is achieved. David Sousa (2006), states, “Fluency is the ability to read a text orally with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Children who lack fluency read slowly and laboriously, often making it difficult for them to remember what has been read…” (p. 187). Readers need three things to be fluent, large cache of sight words, be able to analyze unfamiliar words, and understand that the purpose of reading is comprehension (Caldwell and Leslie, 2009).

Students with a large cache of words known by sight and do not need to decode are better able to read with speed (Braunger and Lewis, 2006). Braunger and Lewis (2006) describes why fluency is important to comprehension, “…Automaticity in word recognition is important because it frees up the reader’s attention to the meaning…” (p. 137). They are not stumbling to decode each and every word. Braunger and Lewis (2006) caution, “Automatic word processing does not guarantee comprehension any more than lack of oral fluency signals a lack of comprehension” (p. 137).

Fountas and Pinnell (2006) describe where literacy is from, “All literacy learning, including the development of fluent reading, is grounded in oral language” (p. 75). When a student reads aloud fluently, the sound is smooth and pleasant. A non-fluent reader could show the following:

  • sounds like a reading of unconnected words
  • tends to repeat words or phrases
  • loses his or her place
  • little variation in tone or expression
  • ignores punctuation and sentence brakes (Caldwell and Leslie, 2009).

A fluent reader that is able uses skills to decode and analyze unfamiliar words while reading (Caldwell and Leslie, 2009). Caldwell and Leslie (2009) point out that, “Appropriate reading rate is usually a signal that the reader is automatically identifying words either from memory or as a result of efficient letter-sound matching” (p. 96). Fluency can also occur when a student has experience with other texts that are similar (Fountas and Pinnell, 2006).

Finally, when a student understands what they are reading they are able to read with expression (Caldwell and Leslie, 2009). Fountas and Pinnell (2006) describe what fluent readers do, “As they read, they notice dialogue and differentiate it from other parts of the text. The attention is on the meaning of the text” (p. 64). Fluency is also depended upon the student performance in different areas:

  • familiarity with concepts in the text
  • familiarity with genre or type
  • accessibility of language structures
  • personal vocabulary
  • number of recognized words in the text
  • number of words that are easy to solve (Fountas and Pinnell 2006).

Caldwell and Leslie (2009) stress the importance of why fluency is important, “Because they do not have to analyze every word, they can direct their attention to meaning, and because they understand what they read, they enjoy and appreciate reading and are motivate to read more” (p. 96).

Braunger, J., Lewis, J. (2006). Building a knowledge base in reading: Second edition. Newark DE:

International Reading Association, Urbana, IL: The National Council of Teachers of English.

Caldwell, S., Leslie, L. (2009). Intervention strategies to follow informal reading inventory assessment: So what do I do now?. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Fountas, I., Pinnell, G. (2006). Teaching comprehending and fluency: Thinking, talking,and writing about reading, k-8. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Sousa, D. (2006). How the brain learns: Third edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

A couple of months later…

The race car driver was able to run down the reading tack with speed and fluency.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

Reading Recipe: Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic Awareness

The once was a historian trying to understand an lost city’s writing. At least that was her hypothesis when she came across several symbols and didn’t know the meaning. There were several books that held the symbols. The first book she held showed the symbols ◊&”, ‹&”, and ›&”. The historian took out her reading guide for assistance and this is what she found about phonemic awareness:

Phonemic Awareness

Gayle Gregory and Lin Kuzmich (2005) define phonemic awareness as, “…the process of translating sounds into symbols and learning to recognize those symbols and their combinations in words as a beginning step to reading and writing. The stages of phonemic awareness include rhymes, rhythms, symbols, and patterns” (p. 64). When students are using rhymes such as dog, bog, and fog they are demonstrating phonemic awareness. Gregory and Kuzmich (2005) go on to say, “Using stories, chants, and rhyme gives children the opportunity to recognize rhyming words and create other scenarios and verses of their own once the pattern has been established” (p. 65). By using basic rhythms students start to develop their phonemic awareness. Students start out using symbols and start placing sound with these symbols. Finally, students become phonemically aware when they can recognize patterns in stories; such as “There once was…” (Gregory and Kuzmich (2005).

Part of being phonemically aware is the knowledge that printed words are made up of individual sounds and these can become new words (Sousa, 2006). David Sousa Ed.D (2006) writes that phonemic awareness, “includes the ability to isolate a phoneme (first, middle, or last) from the rest of the word, to segment words into their components phonemes, and to delete a specific phoneme from a word” (p. 186). For example, students with phonemic awareness are able to distinguish between hat and cat and between hat and hot.

Gregory, G., Kuzmich, L. (2005). Differentiated literacy strategies for student growth and achievement in grades 7-12. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Sousa, D. (2006). How the brain learns: Third edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

The historian started to crack the code and was able to distinguish the difference between the symbols.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry


%d bloggers like this: