What Do We Know About Teaching Reading Comprehension Skills?

Maybe we don’t understand what readers really do – and why it matters

Here is an excerpt from Wiggins detailed posting.

By grantwiggins  posted Wed Feb 11 2015

“How well are we doing in comprehension of text as a nation? You know the answer. We are doing poorly when it comes to genuine comprehension:

What should we infer from the data?

Numerous causes and their implied solutions, as readers know, have been proposed for flat reading scores: poverty, low expectations, inadequate background knowledge, an anti-boy bias in schools (especially in terms of book selection), IQ links to reading ability, computer games, TV, etc. etc.

The utterly flat national trend line, over decades, says to me that none of these theories holds up well, no matter how plausible each may seem to its proponents. Perhaps it’s time to explore a more radical but common sense notion: maybe we don’t yet understand reading comprehension and how it develops over time.

Maybe we have jumped to solutions before understanding the problems of naïve and superficial comprehension. Maybe we still haven’t specified, in diagnostic detail, what real readers do when they supposedly read books and articles and try to comprehend – regardless of what “good readers” supposedly do.

At the very least: it is a good time to question the premise that we understand the problem…”

https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/maybe-we-dont-understand-what-readers-really-do-and-why-it-matters/

Several years ago, along with two of my colleagues, we developed a strategy-based reading comprehension program for middle school students. Although it hasn’t been updated recently, I am posting the link:

http://explorience.pbworks.com/w/page/19411524/FrontPage

Wiggins’s posting will give me a lot to think about.

Asking the “right” Questions Matters in Dialogues about Learning

Here’s an example/excerpt from

Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why? By Maanvi Singh, Published Oct 24, 2014

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/10/24/357811146/curiosity-it-may-have-killed-the-cat-but-it-helps-us-learn

“How does a sunset work? We love to look at one, but Jolanda Blackwell wanted her eighth-graders to really think about it, to wonder and question.

So Blackwell, who teaches science at Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior High in Davis, Calif., had her students watch a video of a sunset on YouTube as part of a physics lesson on motion.

“I asked them: ‘So what’s moving? And why?’ ” Blackwell says. The students had a lot of ideas. Some thought the sun was moving; others, of course, knew that a sunset is the result of the Earth spinning around on its axis.”

Once she got the discussion going, the questions came rapid-fire. “My biggest challenge usually is trying to keep them patient,” she says. “They just have so many burning questions.”

…….