R.A. Knuth and B.F. Jones
NCREL, Oak Brook, 1991
What follows in this section are major findings from cognitive psychology regarding:
These findings were developed by NCREL in collaboration with our Content Partner, the Center for the Study of Reading, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the participants in Program 1, "Children as Strategic Readers."
|The traditional view of the learner as an "empty" vessel to be filled with knowledge from external sources is exemplified by this statue at the University of Leuven (Belgium).|
|Traditional Views||New Definition of Reading|
|Research Base||Behaviorism||Cognitive sciences|
|Goals of Reading||Mastery of isolated facts and skills||Constructing meaning and self-regulated learning|
|Reading as Process||Mechanically decoding words;
memorizing by rote
|An interaction among the reader, the text, and the context|
|Learner Role/Metaphor||Passive; vessel receiving knowledge from external sources||Active; strategic reader, good strategy user, cognitive apprentice.|
Reprinted from the Guide to Curriculum Planning in Reading
with permission from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Comprehension results from an interaction among the reader, the strategies the reader employs, the material being read, and the context in which reading takes place.
Most of the knowledge base on this topic comes from studies of good and poor readers. However, some of it is derived from research on expert teachers and from training studies.
|Characteristics of Poor Readers||Characteristics of Successful Readers|
|Think understanding occurs form "getting the words right," rereading.||Understand that they must take responsibility for construction meaning using their prior knowledge.|
|Use strategies such as rote memorization, rehearsal, simple categorization.||Develop a repertoire of reading strategies, organizational patterns, and genre.|
|Are poor strategy users:
||Are good strategy users:
|Have relatively low self-esteem.||Have self-confidence that they are effective learners; see themselves as agents able to actualize their potential.|
|See success and failure as the result of luck or teacher bias.||See success as the result of hard work and efficient thinking.|
Reading to learnselects important information, monitors comprehension, modifies predictions, compares new ideas with prior knowledge, withholds judgement, questions self about the meaning, connects and organizes ideas, and summarizes text segments.
Reflecting on the informationreviews/summarizes the main ideas from the text as a whole, considers/verifies how these ideas are related; changes prior knowledge according to new learnings; assesses achievement or purpose for learning; identifies gaps in learning; generates questions and next steps.
The examples of excellence in this program clearly show that in world class schools teaching is a multidimensional activity. One of the most powerful of these dimensions is that of "teacher as researcher." Not only do teachers need to use research in their practice, they need to participate in "action" research in which they are always engaging in investigation and striving for improved learning. The key to action research is to pose a question or goal, and then design and implement actions and evaluate progress in a systematic, cyclical fashion as the means are carried out. Below are four major ways that you can become involved as an action researcher.
The following are activities that groups such as your PTA, church, and local Chamber of Commerce can do together with your schools.
Some of the important questions and issues to discuss in your forums are:
Do we agree with the goals, and how high do we rate each?
What is the reason for the pessimism about their achievement?
How are our schools doing now in terms of achieving each?
Why is it important for us to achieve the goals?
What are the consequences for our community if we don't achieve them?
The items below are based on the best practices of the teachers and researchers in Program 1. The checklist can be used to look at current practices in your school and to jointly set new goals with parents and community groups.
Vision of Learning
Curriculum and Instruction
Assessment and Grouping
Involvement of the Community
Policies for Students at Risk
Reading Recovery Program is a supplementary reading and writing program for first-graders who are at risk of reading failure. Reading Recovery was originally developed by New Zealand educator and psychologist Marie M. Clay. It was implemented in Ohio and is now employed in several other states. The short-term goal is to accelerate children's progress in learning to read. The long-term goal is to have children continue to progress through their regular classroom instruction and independent reading, commensurate with their average peers, after the intervention is discontinued. Success is contingent upon the intensive, individual instruction provided by a specially trained teacher for 30 minutes daily. Illinois Reading Recovery Project, Center for the Study of Reading, 51 Gerty Drive, Champaign, IL 61820 (217/333-7213).
Teaching Reading: Strategies from Successful Classrooms is a set of six videotapes and accompanying viewer's guides developed by the Center for the Study of Reading. Each tape presents in-depth analyses of successful classrooms. The programs focus on exemplary teachers and students in order to provide viewers with real access to knowledge about effective reading practices. The aim of the program is to provide simulated field experiences for use in college-level education courses for preservice teachers and inservice workshops for practicing teachers. The classrooms featured are:
Rural Wisconsin Reading Project (RWRP) was a three-year project developed by NCREL, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board that provided technology-supported staff development on strategic reading and teaching for 17 rural districts in central and west-central Wisconsin. The project's approach to develop strategic reading instruction was to treat human and organizational change as a long-term, evolutionary process rather than as a process of implementing an innovation. Two programs have arisen out of RWRP: (1) The Rural Schools Reading Project which applies what was learned from RWRP to address the access, time, and cost challenges of sustained, effective staff development for a network of rural schools (this project is on the list of programs that work from the National Diffusion Network of the U.S. Department of Education), and (2) The Strategic Reading Project which is a single school application of the RWRP principles. NCREL, 1120 Diehl Road, Naperville, IL 60563 (630/649-6500).
Reciprocal Teaching is an instructional strategy for teaching strategic reading developed by Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar that takes place in the form of a dialogue between teachers and students. In this dialogue the teacher and students take turns assuming the role of teacher in leading the dialogue about a passage of text. Four strategies are used by the group members in the dialogue: summarizing, question generating, clarifying, and predicting. At the start the adult teacher is principally responsible for initiating and sustaining the dialogue through modelling and thinking out loud. As students acquire more practice with the dialogue, the teacher consciously imparts responsibility for the dialogue to the students, while becoming a coach to provide evaluative information and to prompt for more and higher levels of participation. Annemarie Palincsar, 1360 FEB, University of Michigan, 610 East University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
Coaching Providing support in studying new skills, polishing old ones, and encouraging change.
Collaborative Groups A temporary grouping structure used primarily for developing attitude outcomes. Students of varying abilities work together to solve a problem or to complete a project.
Comprehension Monitoring Good comprehenders self-evaluate how well they understand while they read. If comprehension is not proceeding well, they have strategies for going back and improving their comprehension.
Constructing Meaning from Text A process in which the reader integrates what is read with his or her prior knowledge.
Cooperative Learning Students working together in small heterogeneous groups to achieve a common goal.
Heterogeneous Groups Groups composed of students who vary in several ways (for example, different reading levels).
Homogeneous Groups Groups composed of students who are alike in one or more ways.
Interactive Phase Sometimes called "guided practice" in this phase, the teacher attempts gradually to move students to a point where they can independently use strategies. It is a major part of a lesson.
Metacognition The process of thinking about and regulating one's own learning. Examples of metacognitive activities include assessing what one already knows about a given topic before reading, assessing the nature of the learning task, planning specific reading/thinking strategies, determining what needs to be learned, assessing what is comprehended or not comprehended during reading, thinking about what is important and unimportant, evaluating the effectiveness of the reading/thinking strategy, revising what is known, and revising the strategy.
Modeling Showing a student how to do a task with the expectation that the student will then emulate the model. In reading, modeling often involves talking about how one thinks through a task.
Predicting Anticipating the outcome of a situation.
Prior Knowledge The sum total of what the individual knows at any given point. Prior knowledge includes knowledge of content as well as knowledge of specific strategies and metacognitive knowledge.
Scaffolding Instruction Providing teacher support to students by modeling the thought processes in a learning episode and gradually shifting the responsibility for formulating questions and thinking aloud to the students.
Strategic Learner A learner who analyzes the reading task, establishes a purpose for reading, and then selects strategies for this purpose.
Strategies Any mental operations that the individual uses, either consciously or unconsciously, to help him- or herself learn. Strategies are goal oriented; that is, the individual initiates them to learn something, to solve a problem, or to comprehend something. Strategies include, but are not limited to, what have traditionally been referred to as study skills such as underlining, note taking, and summarizing, as well as predicting, reviewing prior knowledge, and generating questions.
Text Any segment of organized information. Text could be a few sentence or an entire section of a chapter. Typically, text refers to a few paragraphs.
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