I have to break it to you now, the “Three R’s” need to be replaced with this: read write learn. And here are 5 quick-take-away reasons why:
- The ultimate test of reading skill is whether students are gaining knowledge and information, this demonstrates the read write think idea! It’s critically important that they’re able to WRITE about what they’ve read as a vehicle for explaining and connecting to what they’ve learned! Our reading skills tests tell us whether kids have the necessary underlying skills, but the big comprehension of text and the taking in of important and relevant information will be witnessed in their writing.
- Students need to be reading the RIGHT material. I see so many kids getting points on Accelerated Reader programs and they’re really excited about what they’re reading (which is important!). But the problem is, the text is rarely challenging enough and, ultimately, there is little connecting to the knowledge that kids should be taking with them after reading the text. Big, important comprehension isn’t measured by silent reading and quick-tests alone!
- True learning takes place when students are able to simultaneously decode, comprehend, think about and CONNECT what they’re learning to other relevant topics and previous readings. In other words – get TALKING about what they’ve read, what they’re reading and what they want to learn more about in future text.
- Writing about what you’ve read requires re-writing and editing. And during re-writing and editing of writing, it’s common to GO BACK INTO THE TEXT! Study after study has shown that re-reading text is critical for comprehension. Sooooo…the simple task of editing our writing and going back in the text that inspired the writing is strengthening comprehension. Two bird with one stone, I would say!
- Ultimately, we need to extend our students’ current understanding of what comprehension really is and that it goes beyond ‘answering some questions after I read’. In fact, comprehension of reading needs to include regular and habitual reading, writing, discussing, revising of ideas and written response, rereading, discussing some more…well, you get the point. Answering a few “who, what, where, when, why” questions is critical to begin with and to establish simple retell, but it won’t take kids all the way into deep comprehension. And deep comprehension is critical for our students’ success.
Before you go…consider this quote from my favorite researcher. 🙂
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!