The Elements of Comprehension. By Witt, Hutchinson, Boisis, Davis, and Roberts. Based on the 7 Keys to Comprehension by S. Zimmerman and C. Hutchins. Introducing…. The Elements!. Sensory Images Making Connections Questioning Drawing inferences Determining what ’ s important Synthesizing
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The Elements of Comprehension
By Witt, Hutchinson, Boisis, Davis, and Roberts
Based on the 7 Keys to Comprehension by S. Zimmerman and C. Hutchins
Sensory images are the pictures we make in our minds when we read.
They are what you imagine in your mind that you taste, touch, smell, see, hear, or feel when reading a text.
Element 1: Sensory Images
Taste:Have students brainstorm a list of adjectives or describing words for something in the story. For example, in Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Lilly makes cheese straws for her teachers. What do you think they might taste like? An addition: Make the cheese straws and compare what you thought to what you know!
Touch: Think of some objects that you read about in the story, like a fuzzy bear or a gravel road. How do these things feel when you touch them? Use concrete objects in your classroom like carpet, sandpaper, and Playdoh to make these more tangible to the students.
Sound:Have students (especially in the primary grades) act out the sounds they read about in the story. What does a fire truck sound like? Fireworks? A whisper? Encourage them to use sounds from a particular story during dramatic play. An example would be the story Daisy the Firecow. What did it sound like when Daisy was riding in the fire truck?
Smell: Many students struggle with describing smells. They often say “good” or “bad”. Use this time to explore other words for common adjectives. You can also bring in different items that have distinctive smells, like flowers, fruit, or vinegar. The use of hands-on activities assists in creating mental images.
Sight: This is the easy one! Have students draw a picture of the image in their mind. The use of poetry without pictures is an excellent way of tapping into these sight images. Students must create what THEY see, instead of relying on the illustrator’s interpretation.
Feel:The most abstract of the senses, students are asked to think about how a story makes them feel. This is a perfect introduction to the next comprehension element, making connections to text!
Sensory images are perfect for the use of adjectives!
Making connections to text allows a reader to access his or her background knowledge, and make meaning out of the text. Connections can be text-self, text-text, and text-world.
Text – Self : Connections are made between the story and the reader. Does this remind you of something that has happened to you?
Text – Text: Connections are made between two different texts. For example, different versions of Cinderella, or two different stories by the same author. How are the texts similar? How are they different?
Text – World: The most abstract connection, this connection is made between the text and something happening in the “world”, like a war story being related to our current war in Iraq.
I wonder what…
I wonder who…
I wonder why…
Tales of a Fourth Grade
I wonder if…
I wonder where…
Good readers question
BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER reading.
A great idea for encouraging questioning is a Wonder Box. Questions are just a fancy way of wondering about something. Before reading, take a picture walk, and write down what you might wonder. During and after reading, come up with things you might wonder about in the story. Put them in the box, and pull out wonderings. Encourage them to do this will all texts, or during their independent reading.
Good texts for Wondering:
Wordless books allow students to formulate questions without confusing text.
Where Do Balloons Go? By Jamie Lee Curtis models how to question.
Text and Word
Suggestion using the book No! David by David Shannon
Good readers identify key ideas or themes as they read, and they distinguish between important and unimportant information.
What does the author think is important?
What do I think is important?
How can we help students determine importance?
Before reading, decide what you think the author is trying to tell you in this book. For example, if you are reading a non-fiction book about spiders, what do you think the author wants us to know about spiders?
USE THIS TO SET THE PURPOSE FOR READING!
The key to helping students determine importance is to MODEL!
Synthesizing is the ability to sort through information gained from text, determine what is important, why it is important, and determine overall meaning. It involves drawing conclusions. It is metacognition, or the monitoring of one’s own thinking!
Strategies to use when a reader gets “hung up” and needs help “fixing” the problem!
Go back and Reread!
Use context clues
Read on !
Use graphic organizers!
Adjust reading rate!
Articles and Books: