There are common practices that we see often from school to school and district to district – some that serve our students well and some that we do because we’ve always done it that way.  I’d like to take a minute to unpack comprehension instruction and how we might need to adjust what it looks like in the classroom.  Here’s what we currently see the teacher and students doing during comprehension instruction:

The Teacher:

         Lots of “teacher talk”

         Students watching teacher practice the skill

         Calling on one student at a time to answer questions

         Simple, “right there” questions or prompts

         Waiting until the end of the instruction to ask questions

         Explaining the strategy and moving into application

The Student:

         Responding in single word utterances

         Memorizing strategies

         Forgetting to apply strategies across curriculum

         Watching the teacher as s/he discusses the strategy

Here’s what it SHOULD look like (says the most recent research studies)

Teachers organize instruction in routine ways that:

      Reinforce conceptions of reading as a meaning making process

      Provide guided support for making sense while students are engaged in acts of reading

      Shift responsibility for thinking and making sense of texts to students themselves through guided supports

      Sequence discipline-specific inquiry tasks and the reading of a range of discipline focused texts in ways that build knowledge and dispositions over time

      Focus classroom talk on how students make sense of texts and how they carry out thinking tasks

Reading in the Disciplines: The Challenge of Adolescent Literacy, 2010

What are you doing well and what adjustments do you need to make?