Adventures in Literacy Land: self-monitoring during reading

Showing posts with label self-monitoring during reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label self-monitoring during reading. Show all posts

Monitoring for Miscues: Prompting Readers to Stop and Think

 Hello literacy lovers!  To be a part of this wonderfully talented group of bloggers is an honor, and I am learning so much and have been so inspired and encouraged. My name is Lauren from Teacher Mom of 3.  Literacy has been my passion since I was a toddler sitting on my mother's lap as she read to me. I have been involved in education in some shape or form for the last twenty-five years.  I began my career as a high school literature teacher and have since taught every grade from preschool to grade twelve (with the exception of grades nine and ten) in some capacity. 

My experience includes working as an ELA classroom teacher, a literacy resource teacher, teacher mentor, reading specialist, and literacy coach.  I hold a B.S. Ed. in English and an M.Ed. in Reading and hold reading specialist certification in PA and MD.  My newest adventure is homeschooling my first grade son, and so far we are both loving it!  My middle son is a second grader in our local public school, and my oldest son is a sophomore in college.

Although I am not Reading Recovery certified, my reading specialist program and clinical work were infused with many Reading Recovery theories and instructional strategies.  As an elementary reading specialist, I am fascinated with observing, analyzing, and planning focused instruction for struggling readers.  One such area that I am interested in is a reader's use of self-monitoring strategies during reading.  Monitoring is so critical for readers to be able to implement the strategies and skills that we teach them.  To be able to use these "tools" independently is the goal.  If students do not know how to monitor, reading will continue to be a laborious process that is neither enjoyable nor effective. Moreover, emergent readers may never learn to self-correct, therefore impacting their comprehension.

What is Monitoring?
Simply put, monitoring is when a reader notices mismatches and errors (miscues) while reading, specifically decoding.  As well, good readers also monitor for meaning when reading to make sure they are comprehending. Depending on the child, I usually start with teaching students to monitor for decoding using the three cueing systems. If we want our readers to be independent readers who use "fix-up" strategies, who make multiple attempts while reading, who self-correct, and who are proficient readers, we need to teach them how to self-monitor.  We know that effective readers are active readers who think throughout the reading process.  Marie Clay (2005) shares that monitoring and using what you know in an active way helps to support what she calls "fast processing".  Likewise,  Fountas and Pinnell (2009), state that a teacher's goal is to help readers develop "fast brain work" (p. 348).

For this post, I will focus on monitoring while decoding, which includes readers using visual, syntactic, and meaning cues.

Why Some Students Do Not Monitor

Proficient and advanced readers consistently monitor their reading in a sophisticated manner, both when decoding and for comprehension.  In contrast, struggling readers and some on-grade level readers do not.  Before you can teach explicitly for monitoring, you need to try and determine why a student is not monitoring.  I'll use my first grade son as an example.  He is reading at a Guided Reading level of "L"- above grade level. However, he does not always comprehend what he reads because he does not monitor for decoding errors when he is reading. Often, he will make an attempt that he mumbles and that sounds like a nonsense word.  But, he keeps reading away, often reading too fast, as if he just wants "to get this finished".

But why does he do this?  
Here are a few reasons why some readers do not monitor:

1. They do not know how to say the word or how to fix the error.
2. They do not want to stop reading.  They may be reading too fast.
3. They are frustrated and are working so hard to decode sight words that to spend more energy on a tricky word is too much work.
4. They do not have much confidence.
5. They are not aware of the cueing systems they should be using.

Knowing why a student does not monitor is a starting point for planning explicit instruction.  If you are not able to work with students individually, you can still address needs in a whole-class mini-lesson and /or by creating strategy groups.  I use flexible grouping in the classroom where I will sometimes group students with similar needs, such as monitoring.

 How Do I Teach For Monitoring?

To begin, first determine the cueing system(s) that the student is using, if any.  Many students will rely solely on visual cues and need to be taught and encouraged to use syntactic and meaning cues.  For my son, he was adding letters when reading (truck for tuck) and ignoring medial letters, especially diphthongs.

Be very specific in determining your goal for the student and the prompts that you will use.  For my son, we are working on the initial letters and using visual cues.  If he says "truck" for "tuck", I will respond, "Does that look right?".  It doesn't look right because one would expect to see letter "r" after the "t".  Pinnell and Fountas recommend keeping the prompts very simple for readers at an A-C level.  For me, I find that I often have to keep it simple for many kids reading at a higher level.  It is suggested that teachers do not use complex prompts.  What this means is do not ask students to use all three cueing systems at once ("Does it look right, sound right, make sense?").  Instead, focus on one system at a time, as I mentioned earlier.  

Use a Think Aloud to model and share your thinking.  For example I might say: " I am stopping because I said the word truck, but it doesn't look right because I would expect to see letter "r" after the "t" and I do not see it.  I will reread the page again and try to fix it" (here you are also modeling a fix-up strategy and cross-checking).  Then, use prompts to have students try monitoring on their own.  Here are some prompts that you can use to get you started.  Just click on the image below to download a PDF version that you can print.

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Here are just a few more tips that I have found helpful when working with students:
  • If the student notices part of the word, they are still monitoring to some degree.
  • Tell students that they need to stop if the word/reading does not look right, sound right, or make sense.
  • Struggling readers and/or those with low confidence will often be  very passive.  They will need a lot of praise and encouragement.
Speaking of praise, it is very effective to use specific praise.  Instead of saying, "Good job!" when they finish reading, praise them on something very specific that they did- that you heard or observed.  A few examples would be:
  • "Stopping when it doesn't sound right is what a good reader does"
  • "I like how you stopped, noticed the mistake, and tried to fix the word."
  • "I like how you stopped reading because you knew it didn't make sense"
  • "I like the way you tried to figure out the word on your own"
  • "I like how you used your finger to slow down your speed so you didn't miss any letters or words."

Hopefully, this has provided an overview or a refresher on how to explicitly teach young readers to self-monitor.  Click here to view and print a teacher observation prompting guide from Fountas and Pinnell.  See "Part 4:  Self-Monitoring".  It makes a nice little "cheat sheet" for you to keep in your lesson plan binder until you have internalized the prompts. 

How do you teach self-monitoring?  What methods have you found successful for teaching monitoring and self-correcting?  Please share your ideas and comments!

Sources:  When Readers Struggle  Teaching That Works (2009) by Pinnell and Fountas
               The CAFE Book  Engaging All Students in Daily Literacy Assessment and Instruction (2009) by Gail Boushey       and Joan Moser

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