Adventures in Literacy Land: book study

Showing posts with label book study. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book study. Show all posts

Word Callers Book Study - Chapters 7 & 8

I love the title of Chapter 7, "Connecting the Dots" because it is a great way to think about inferring, which is difficult for word callers.

Kelly Cartwright categorizes inferences into two types:  text-connecting and gap-filling.  Text-connecting inferences require a reader to connect two ideas from a text to construct an idea that is not explicitly stated in the text.  Gap-filling inferences require a reader to connect their background knowledge to a piece (or multiple pieces) of text information to construct meaning.  Word callers have trouble with inference because they have to connect MULTIPLE bits of information and talk/think about things that are not in the text.  What can we do to help them?  We need to "make students aware that there are hidden meanings in the text that must be discovered. (Cartwright, 2010, p. 98).

Working with students on an individual basis allows the teacher to provide more specific, feedback to that student.  Using the two-story clue hunt, helps students make text-connecting and gap-filling inferences by using clue words in the story to create those inferences.

How it works:
  • Explain to students that you will be solving a puzzle today as they read a story.  To solve the puzzle we are going to look for clue words.
  • Read the first story.  Identify the clue words and explain what the clue words reveal about the story.
  • Read the second story.  The student helps you identify the clue words and explains what they tell about the story.  For any clue words that the student doesn't identify, tell the clue words and work WITH them to develop an explanation.
Because word callers don't recognize reading as a meaning-making process, they need to be nudged in the right direction.

Three-step inference building is an intensive process that spans six to seven small-group lessons that result in students becoming active thinkers.

How it works:

  • Finding Clue Words (lessons 1, 2, & 3) - Students find clue words in sentences and discuss the meanings provided by the clue words.
  • Question Generating (lessons 4, 5, & 6) - Students become the teacher and ask questions using the clue words that will help their fellow students make inferences.
  • Making Predictions (lesson 7) - Use a story that has one sentence covered.  Have students use clues from the rest of the story to determine the meaning of the sentence covered.

Without explicit instruction in how to comprehend texts, we cannot expect word callers to become active readers.  We need to give these students a glimpse into the mind of a proficient reader by "actively engag[ing] students in a running conversation about texts' meanings and their own thoughts about those meaning while reading a text. (Cartwright, 2010, p. 113).  We can do these through a process called Transactional Strategies Instruction where strategies are blended into a meaning-making experience rather than taught and practiced in isolation.

How it works:
Gather a small group (this a conversational type strategy) and pick a common text to read.

  • Good Strategy Users - As you read the text, emphasize that good readers use strategies we can't see, highlight various strategies during the reading and explain the reasoning behind using that strategy
    • MEANING IS ALWAYS THE PRIMARY FOCUS not just using a particular strategy
  • Gradual Release of Responsibility - Provide a specific strategy for students to use.  Before asking them to use it, explain the reasoning behind using the strategy - How does it help a reader make meaning?
  • Collaborative Learning - This is a student-centered approach because the teacher releases responsibility to the students quickly.  Asking questions like "What makes you think that?" and having students explain their thinking to each other.
  • Interpretative Discussion - Teachers guide students' thinking by prompting them with strategy use questions instead of giving evaluative feedback.  Students contributions are valued and supported.
"TSI is about changing the way you teach, not just changing what you teach. (Cartwright, 2010, p. 114).

Questions to Consider (please use the comment section below to share your thoughts!)

Consider the difference between text-connecting and gap-filling inferences.  Have you noticed that your students find one ore the other more difficult?  Why do you think this is the cause?

How is TSI similar to your current comprehension instruction?  How is it different?

 photo thinkingoutloudtitle.png

Word Callers Book Study ~ Chapter 3

Do you have Word Callers in your classroom?  I am sure you do because we all do!  If you are not sure if you have word callers, check out Wendy's post from yesterday to find out more about them.

And if you have the book, grab it and follow along today as I discuss chapter three!  If you don't have it, you need it!

Today I am going to present Chapter Three of Word Callers by Kelly B. Cartwright, which shows how to assess students to see who our inflexible thinkers really are.  This assessment allows us to assess students' flexible thinking about more than just the way the words sound but also their meanings.  It also allows us to do the following:

~ Explain the inflexible thinking we see in our students.
~ Determine which students need extra help to improve flexible thinking.
~ Measure flexible thinking throughout the year to see if it has changed.
~ Improve flexible thinking through intervention.

How many of you use sorting methods in your own classrooms?  Many of us do to help us teach and understand concepts our children need to master.  With a simple 2x2 matrix and word cards, we can tell who our flexible and inflexible thinkers are.  I assessed my own son, who is going into the sixth grade.  Here is what he {unwillingly} did.

When you purchase the book, you get a set of picture cards and words cards for interventions and assessments.

I showed my son how to do the assessment by placing the words into four categories by beginning sound and meanings.  This showed him what I was looking for.

Then I had him sort a different set of cards with the same parameters while I time him.

This is his finished product.

This shows that he is probably an inflexible thinker, but I know differently.  This is just an 11 year old who didn't want to help me out after a long day at camp.  

I only did this once with him, but the real assessment gives them more opportunities to show their thinking.  With a scoring sheet, there is data to show the flexibility of thinking in students.  A chart is also available to lead you in the right direction.

This year I plan to use this with many of my students who experience problems that are like word callers.  This will help them become stronger readers and comprehenders, an important part of reading and learning.

How do you think this will help you as you help your students become stronger readers?

Tune in tomorrow for Chapter 4 of Word Callers!


Word Callers Book Study Ch. 1 and 2

Welcome Literacy Land Readers! I'm so excited to kick off our Word Callers book study with you. Thanks for joining us as we learn how to identify the word callers in our classrooms and help them flex their thinking.

Word Callers: What to Watch For

Word callers. We've all had them in our classrooms. In fact, up to a third of our struggling readers are word callers. They are students who can identify and decode words but have difficulty processing their meaning. I bet you can picture one of these students in your head.

Characteristics of Word Callers

Word callers struggle with vocabulary knowledge, categorizing words, inferring meanings of unknown words from context, and monitoring their own understanding.

Additionally, they have difficulty connecting their prior knowledge with the text and reading between the lines.

While word callers have a difficult time with meaning, they have many strengths to draw upon such as cognitive ability, text memory, word reading speed, and an ability to decode text.

They seem to have "tunnel vision" when reading.  They focus on word-level features and miss the text's meaning.

My Thoughts

I think it is important to remember that word callers have many strengths that we can build upon. The key will be finding ways to help students "multi-task" as they read. The upcoming chapters will explore ways to help children break away from print and focus more on meaning.

Questions for Discussion

  • Is there a practice you've tried that seemed to help students improve their comprehension?  
  • Why do you think the practice was effective?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

The High-Low Paradox: Why These Children Struggle

Recent research on children's thinking has provided five important insights will help us understand the difficulties word callers have with comprehension.

Word Callers tend to focus their attention on the letter-sound information so intently that they are unable to think about the meaning of the text.

Word callers often think that the purpose of reading is fluency and accuracy. They focus the letters and sounds and not the meaning.

Word callers view the components of reading as separate from one another. Therefore they do not integrate letter-sound information with syntax and meaning.  

Word callers tend to have difficulty with executive functioning (goal-directed mental activities). Therefore, they focus on decoding rather than getting meaning from the text.

Word callers are less flexible with their thinking. They have difficulty integrating the many components of reading. 

My Thoughts

After reading each of the insights listed above, it's easy to see why word callers struggle to make meaning of text.  Reading is a cognitive task. Readers need to develop flexibility in their thinking in order to be successful.  In the chapters to come, Cartwright will share several strategies to help word callers flex their thinking.

Questions for Discussion

  • Have you had observed students who were unable to consider more than one idea or perspective?  
  • What practices might help students step outside their own views?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Stop back tomorrow as we continue our book study with Chapter 3 -Who Are Your Inflexible Thinkers?


Summer Reading: A Book Study

I know for many of us our summers have been filled with fun, sun, busy days, lazy days, studies!  Well your Literacy Land ladies have been no different.  One of the books that we dove into this summer was "Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap" by Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Frazen.

Okay...your first thought may be, "Why would I read a book about summer reading when the new school year is about to begin?"  Good question.  I had the same one; however, I have the answer.

This book is filled with ideas to help our students through those summer months of (let's face it...for many) very little learning.  Allington and McGill-Frazen share research that (even though I know it to be true) was still stunning about the achievement gap and summer slide.  Different scenarios, research studies, and practical actions are explained.

But again...why read this now?  Because I now understand that it will take the year to get to know your students and what kinds of books will drive them to read over the summer.  It will take the year for you to plan how you can implement a learning program that will work for you and your students.  This book has already changed some school routines that my building will be implementing next year.

With that being said, we would LOVE for you to join us on this journey of closing the rich/poor achievement gap through summer reading.   We hope to hear your thoughts, ideas, practices, or frustrations as we work our way through the chapters.  Here is our schedule:

July 27--chapter 1
July 28--chapter 2
July 29--chapter 3 
July 30--chapter 4
 July 31--chapter 5 
August 1--chapter 6 
August 2--chapter7

We look forward to studying this book with you!


Join Us for Book Study!

Do you ever wonder how to help the students in your classroom who are able to decode words but have difficulty comprehending their meaning?

Adventures in Literacy Land is hosting a book study to explore ways to help word callers grow their comprehension skills.  Learn how to identify the word callers in your classroom and help them flex their thinking.  

Plan to join us July 20-24 as we read and discuss our Ah-ha moments from Word Callers by Kelly Cartwright.  Borrow or buy your copy of the book today.  :)

Happy Reading!