Whew, this series is a little dusty! So what happened in the last 9 months? Not a baby. No siree!! I was asked to take over a first grade classroom mid year. Being thrown back into the classroom while not being mentally prepared to have my own class was 100% exhausting! However, when I DID step back into my own classroom I realized something– this is what I was MADE to do. So rather than going back to my non-classroom instructional position, this year I chose to stay in the first grade classroom. I’m so excited to finish this series with you, and even have a few entries to add to the series involving early literacy for 1 and 2 year olds.
That said, let’s jump right in! Part 4 of our series addresses the jelly to the peanut butter in the reading sandwich. The peanut butter, the ability to read the text, is addressed in parts 1-3, linked below. The “jelly” is the ability to understand the text. You can’t possibly eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich unless you have BOTH ingredients. Likewise, reading is not REAL reading without the ability to both read AND understand the text.
Here’s where I like to start… with the book Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor. If you’re a teacher, get this book NOW. If you aren’t a teacher and just want to help your kid, here are some places to start:
- Metacognition: This means “thinking about thinking”. You need to make your child aware of the fact that as he or she reads, there’s thinking going on. You can do this by reading books with few words, and speaking your thoughts out loud. Modeling how you think while you read is the best way for kids to learn how!
- Schema: Schema is “everything that’s stuck to your brain”. Meaning, all the things you already know. Good readers are able to make connections to the things that they read. As you and your child read, ask, “What does that remind you of?” Help find connections to new vocabulary and situations. We teach that you can make text to self connections (connections to the child’s life), text to text connections (connections to another book or source of media like TV/movies), and text to world connections (connections to the world around such as environment, causes, etc).
- Inferring: Inferring is the ability to read between the lines, to understand what the author says without words. Play ‘detective’ games with your child. Collect a variety of objects and see if your child can piece together the clues. As you read as questions about how the characters feel, what the author means, and probe your child to explain why they think that way.
- Visualizing: Visualizing is “making a movie in your mind”. Read aloud often and have your child close their eyes and imagine the story in their mind.
- Questioning: Good readers ask themselves questions as they read. You can do this with your child as well. –>Click here<– for great fiction and non-fiction questions for your little one.
If you work on this with your child, you’re off to a great start in understanding what their reading. Here’s the thing: your kid can decode (read the words on the page) until their blue in the face. They can read you a college textbook at 3 years old. BUT if they cannot understand what is being read, this is not real reading! Real reading= text + thinking. So when your child’s teacher gently tells you your kid is having trouble with reading, but he can read everything flawlessly, check out the jelly part of the sandwich. There MUST be understanding, or it’s not real reading.
Check out all the whole “Read, read, read” series, linked below:
The Ability to Read the Text
The Ability to Understand the Text
Read, Read, Read- Part 4: Comprehension
Read, Read, Read- Part 5: Fluency
Other Ways to Boost Reading
Read, Read, Read- Part 6: Read Novels
Read, Read, Read- Part 7: Write
Read, Read, Read- Part 8: Use Technology