Adventures in Literacy Land: comprehension assessment

Showing posts with label comprehension assessment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comprehension assessment. Show all posts

Teaching Reading In Small Groups - Chapter 2: "Forming Groups: Making the Invisible Visible Through Assessment"

When I signed up for this summer book study, I immediately gravitated towards chapter 2! I have always struggled with small group reading instruction (hence, the book study participation) and one of my biggest struggles is HOW to get the kids into groups that make sense AND allow for the greatest amount of growth in all students. It seems like my reading groups tend to stay static for a loooong time and then abruptly change. Jennifer Serravallo has laid out some great ideas for how to create the best groups for your students and keep them flexible as their needs change.

Word Callers Book Study: Chapter Four

Welcome to Chapter Four~  Easy Intervention Lessons: Word and Picture Sorts!  It's Lauren from Teacher Mom of 3 here with you today to share the highlights and my reflections from this chapter. If you missed Andrea's post from yesterday about identifying word callers, click here.  First, I want to share why I was so intrigued by this book.

Since the beginning of my career, some 26 years ago, I have been both baffled and curious as to how to teach and offer intervention for comprehension.  Not "getting it" is very common in older readers, even the "good" readers I have taught in grades 3-12. Being a high school and then later a middle school teacher years ago, I studied researchers such as Stephanie Harvey, Jeffrey Wilhelm, Ellin Keene, Donald Graves, and more.  I was thrilled to see that Cartwright also makes mention of these renowned researchers at the end of the book.  As a result, my teaching style includes modeling and explicit teaching of active reading strategies for all grade levels. However, I have never seen a specific assessment and targeted intervention for these readers who struggle with making and thinking flexibly meaning until I read this book.

One of my goals when working with readers is said very eloquently by Kelly Cartwright:

Thus, in order to help these children become successful comprehenders, we must make them aware that reading is active, that reading is thinking, and that good readers are always thinking while reading.
~Word Callers by Kelly Cartwright  p. 112

Word callers have great difficulty with active thinking.  That is, they are "glued" to the print and decoding and are unable to also think about meaning simultaneously. We all have taught and worked with word callers. And, I'm pretty sure we will have students on our roster this school year who can read very fluently, but do not understand their reading.  They have great difficulty with retellings, summarizing, and answering literal level questions as well as implicit questions.  They can read the words but they just don't get it.  They are word callers because as Cartwright mentions in chapter 4, they have great difficulty thinking flexibly about both sounds and meanings when reading words.

In fact, I have a word caller at home, and I was eager to learn new ideas to help him make meaning during and after reading.  It is mainly because of my son that I wanted to read and participate in this book study!   The Sound-Meaning Flexibility Intervention is the intervention that was created by Kelly Cartwright and is explained in detailed in chapter four.  As a side note, the rest of the book discusses other intervention/teaching methods for strengthening comprehension.

This book is unique in that not only does it describe in depth a new assessment tool and an intervention method, but the materials to use for both accompany the book!  I first assessed my son using the word cards that are included and followed the directions in chapter three (this is what Andrea discussed yesterday).  As I suspected, he scored below average for this age/grade level.  Because he has difficulty remembering what he reads, completing a retelling, and answering literal level questions, I had a clue that he was a word caller.

Now for the intervention lessons. The Sound-Meaning Flexibility Intervention can be delivered both individually and in small groups.  Very detailed instructions are included for both as well as photos, diagrams, and a scoring sheet.  Since I was working with just one child, my son, I will share with you the information I found to be important and relevant when administering this intervention. The author claims that improved comprehension can be measured in just five lessons (one lesson per week for 5 weeks).

Each intervention lesson has two main parts:  picture work and word work.  It is suggested that you begin with the picture sort and use as a scaffold.  When the student does not need it anymore, then your lessons will just focus on the word cards.  By lesson #3, I was able to omit the picture cards.

At the beginning, we discuss what flexible, good readers think about and then move into sorting the picture cards.  In the photo below he is sorting by one dimension (what the pictures mean:  fruit and flowers).

He repeated a second sort where he just sorted by color. Then he used the matrix that is included to sort by both dimensions.  See the top, left picture.

Next, using the intervention lesson directions, he completed four word sorts.  For each sort, he had to place the word cards on the matrix sorting by two dimensions, sound and word meaning.  See the bottom, right picture of a completed word sort.  You can see that he sorted by sound (columns) and word meanings (rows).  This was hard for him to make the transition from the pictures to the words.  That is how I knew that he would need to use the picture cards for the next lesson.  For the (4) word sorts, the student must get (4) consecutive sorts correct.  Once you and the student get the hang of it, the intervention lesson can be completed in about 20 minutes.  The author mentions that if you are delivering the intervention to small groups to allow for up to 40 minutes at the beginning.  There are some flexible options that the author discusses in the chapter.

Now, we still need to do two more lessons, and then I am excited to see how well he uses his flexible thinking with his chapter book reading!

Have you used this particular intervention?  Or, have you used other interventions or lessons for teaching readers to think flexibly about words, sounds, and meaning?

Be sure to come back tomorrow for a recap of chapters 5 and 6!