Friday, April 20, 2012

Basic Comprehension Strategies

Question: What is required for teachers to learn a new comprehension strategy?

Answer/Quote: “During the first year of…program operation, we learned that it is unrealistic to expect teachers to master many comprehensive instructional strategies and be able to use them in even a routine manner in the classroom. We found ourselves agreeing with Joyce and Showers, who state that training teachers to master even a relatively simple instructional strategy will probably take as much as 20 to 30 hours of studying the theory and research literature, at least 15 to 20 times observing the strategy being modeled using different types of learners and various content material and 10 to 15 times practicing the strategy with peers or small groups of students while being guided or coached (Joyce and Showers, 1982).”

“Therefore, we chose only two basic comprehension strategies that had a strong research and theoretical base, Russell Stauffer’s Directed Reading-Thinking Strategy or DR-TA (Stauffer. 1960) and Donna Ogle’s Know-Want to Know-Learn strategy or K-W-L (Ogle 1986).”  P. 506.

Comment: The article does not really explain these two strategies. Stauffer’s DR-TA includes surveying the textbook chapter by reading the title and sub-titles, reading the first and last paragraphs, and reading the first sentence of each intermediate paragraph, discussing what has been learned and then raising questions about what the readers want to know.

The K-W-L method has the students completing three columns on a sheet of paper: What the student knows already about the topic, wants to know about the topic, and, after reading, what has been learned about the topic.

Although the sequence of learning the strategy is thorough, teachers are not dumb. They will undoubtedly learn to use the strategies at different speeds and with different needs with regard to practice. RayS.

Title: “CCD: A Model Comprehension Program for Changing Thinking and Instruction.” JE George, P Moley and DS Ogle. Journal of Reading (April 1992), 564-570.

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