Welcome to my blog! I am a teacher who loves to bring my creativity to the classroom! I believe in fostering a love of learning, creating a positive classroom community, STEM intergration, teaching with technology, and giving students choice!

Accommodation Celebration: Reading Comprehension

I'm excited to begin blogging about something near and dear to my heart...teaching in an inclusion classroom. My students, families, and coworkers have taught me SO much over the past three years. I'm excited to share some practices with you that might be new to you or 'oldies but goodies' to help your teaching and your students' learning. I'll be covering a range of topics highlighting specific areas of need. I hope to create a 'GO TO' place for teachers to look for ideas to help their students. Here we go!

A picture walk is a way for students to make connections, ask questions, notice details, and look at the story before reading. I usually begin reading groups (Levels DRA 16 and below with picture walks). It is a great way to talk about vocabulary that is specific to each story and gain further understanding about the type of story before reading.

When retelling a story, I'm looking for students to use character names, key details, important vocabulary, and to retell the story in the correct order when retelling a story orally and through writing. This can be difficult for many students, regardless of whether or not they receive reading services or not. When working with students who REALLY have a lot of difficulty remembering parts of a story, I like to start with what THEY remember. I'm not picky about whether it is in order or not. I simply have them write a sentence about something that happened and have them try to use the character name/a specific detail. I want my students to feel excited and PROUD of what they do remember! We use index cards, scrap paper, or post-its when retelling. I then have students play a 'Game' and put the index cards in the correct order that they happened. We usually divide the cards equally among the students in the reading group and take turns looking at our 'cards' to see who has the 1st, 2nd, 3rd card and so on. We this game several times.

When doing guided reading, my students know that they must continue to reread until I ask everyone to stop. Rereading can really help students learn character names and review important parts of the story. After playing the game I described above with my students, I usually have them reread again. Then we add in more cards for the new information that they remember. ***If my students really are missing important information, I find the page that the information is on and prompt them. I might also add in a card that I created for them to put in the correct order.***

If you have technology available in your classroom, try the following strategies to help your students gain confidence with reading comprehension.

  • Using an iPad, have students record themselves reading the story aloud. Then have students reread the story two more times and listen to their recording of themselves. Use voice memo or video recording to do so.
  • Use the iPad app: iMovie to create a Movie Trailer retelling the story. Reread the story to make sure all important parts are included.
  • Use the iPad app: Videolicious to have students take pictures of important events in the story. Then have students the story by using the pictures on Videolicious. Never heard of Videolicious? Read more about it HERE!

Have two students pair together, read a story, and 'check' each other for retelling. It just so happened that I had a reading group of two students this year. One was strong with fluency and needed help with comprehension. The other was very strong with comprehension and needed help with fluency. I had the student who was confident and strong with reading comprehension model a good retell. Their buddy used a checklist to make sure that their partner gave an A+ retell! Then they switched roles. I used a checklist that I typically use with guided writing (after reading the book) and it worked perfectly! Check out that checklist HERE.

I hope that this post gave you some new ideas to try! If you have any 'Go To' strategies that have worked super well for you please leave a comment to share with us below!

Happy Teaching

-Ashley from Talkin Pianta Teaching

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