I had been teaching for a few years and was using a basal because that is what was given to me. My masters program had begun and I was learning new teaching strategies. Ones that involved using model texts for teaching comprehension. I wanted to use some of my new knowledge to teach reading in a more meaningful way. A way that actually taught a strategy with books that were appropriate for that strategy and the kids reading them.
I decided to use model texts for teaching comprehension. I became obsessed with finding and collecting titles that would help me teach comprehension strategies to my students. Today I will share with you some of the books I have used and how I used them.
to teach kids how to read and think like good readers.
to use books that were more appropriate for the kids.
them to learn the comprehension strategies that I had been studying.
to assess the students on how well they could use the strategies they were learning rather than assessing how well they could answer questions.
The Road vs. The Vehicle
In grad school I was taught that the reading strategy is the road you want to take your students down and the book, story, or article is the vehicle that will get you there. This means that you need to identify what strategy you want to teach and then seek the books, story or article that works with that strategy. This is in opposition to the old way of teaching where you pick the story in the basal reader and teach whatever strategy that matches it.
This is a far more effective way of teaching because you are teaching a strategy. You are saying, “here is what we are learning this week and this is how we will learn it.” Usually, when you choose a strategy, you have a purpose for choosing that strategy. Maybe the kids need a refresher or they haven’t been introduced to it yet. (now does the picture below make sense? 🙂 )
Model texts are typically books, but I have used articles and short stories as well. Kids love to be read aloud so embedding a lesson into a read aloud is an easy adjustment.
Introduce the story and strategy. Tell the kids that you will be reading and sharing your thoughts aloud. That they just need to listen while you read and think. Do this for a few pages, read and share your thoughts based on the strategy you are teaching. Then stop. Ask kids what you were thinking as you read. See if they can recall your thinking and if they had any thoughts of their own.
Then have the kids participate. Have them share their thoughts as you continue to read. If it’s just you and your child/children then sharing aloud works fine. If it’s a whole class then having the children write down their thoughts to share at the end of the page may work better. A lot of kids sharing their thoughts as you try to read can be overwhelming!
These strategies are things good readers do naturally when they read. When you have a strong reader, you may just need to point out WHEN they are using the strategy rather than model for them. Say, “that’s a great question/connection!”
Reviewing a strategy is as easy as reading aloud and discussing a book as you go with a child. The important thing to remember is to mention the strategy you or the child uses when thinking. This helps the child recognize when they are thinking as they read alone. Which is our main goal, getting kids to use these strategies naturally on their own.
The main comprehension strategies that good readers use are:
Model Texts For Teaching Comprehension
There are so many great books out there. One can certainly pick nearly any book up and use it to teach a comprehension skill. I have found a few to be excellent and want to share them with you. Rather than list them all here I have compiled them on a printable so it can be printed and easily referenced time and again. I even have space for you to write book titles that you have found helpful in teaching certain comprehension strategies.
As I said though, nearly any read aloud book works as long as there is conversation between the reader and the child. Discussing and noticing our thinking is the main goal of a read aloud. We want to get kids thinking about what they are reading so that they can start to develop ideas and thoughts about books and themes.
Check Out My Store!
To make it easier for you I went ahead and made a little store at amazon with all the model texts for teaching comprehension titles I mention in my printable. Check them out here!