What Are They Thinking?
INSTRUCTION: This activity asks kids to talk about and act out what the characters in their story might be thinking (BLD). This requires students to infer how a character might act or feel based on what they have learned about their circumstances or personality (BLD). This is an awesome activity to do as a whole class, or individuals with some students who might be struggling with inferring or comprehension strategies. Kids would also likely enjoy using little speech and through bubbles.
Before, During, After
INSTRUCTION/ ASSESSMENT: Students are asked to write a question before they read a story, during and after the story is finished (BLD). This activity asks students to begin their critical thinking before the story has even begun. In addition the teacher can also observe the questions that students are asking and take particular note of their after questions to see if they understand the text enough to as a critical question (BLD).
INSTRUCTION: Reading rockets suggests that one important skill to teacher kids that will increase that will help them comprehend what they read is summarizing. The act of synthesizing text and putting the main ideas in to your own words really requires the reader to understand what they have read (Reading Rockets).
INSTRUCTION/ ASSESSMENT: Guided reading is a great opportunity for teachers to work with students on a intimate level on their reading comprehension strategies (BLD). That being said it also allows the teacher to determine which students are struggling with certain strategies. In guided reading lessons, teachers often draw a focus to specific words, and asking students to make predictions (BLD).
INSTRUCTION: CTW talk about how by creating story maps, students can write out what they are thinking as a story progresses. Maps can also be used to record information after a story has been read as a way to summarizing the information, make inferences, and state your opinion (CTW). These questions that students are asking, help them to wrap their mind around what happened in the story and what that means to them (CTW).
INSTRUCTION: Thinking aloud is a really great way for teachers to model to their students what is going on in their head and can be a great tool to help students understand how to comprehend something (CTW). This way teachers can show kids how they think when they are reading (CTW). A teacher might say "I wonder if...", "So far I know that...", or "I can picture the...". Teachers can also ask students to do the same when they are reading to self or to some one else (CTW).
What Research Tells Us About Reading, Comprehension, and Comprehension Instruction
UNDERSTANDING: New research suggests that reading really is a very complex process of constructing meaning (Reading Rockets). Researchers suggest that this construction is interactive, strategic, and adaptable (Reading Rockets). This suggests that the readers works with the text, using a variety of strategies and purposes for using each one in order to make meaning out of the words.
INSTRUCTION: This BLD recipe really asks students to go beyond comprehending the story and asks them to think critically about how an author's biases may change their views. BLD suggests doing this activity in pairs, which even furthers the level of complexity of this activity. I think this type of deeper comprehension and abstract thinking are really important skills that are going to push kids to the next level and think outside of the box.