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COMPREHENSION. Reading First Stonewall Resort Fall ’07 -adapted from presentations by Dr. Joe Torgenson and Dr. Anita Archer . Before Reading passages. Teach the pronunciation of difficult to read words. Teach the meaning of critical, unknown vocabulary words.

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Reading First

Stonewall Resort

Fall ’07

-adapted from presentations by

Dr. Joe Torgenson and Dr. Anita Archer

before reading passages
Before Reading passages
  • Teach the pronunciation of difficult to read words.
  • Teach the meaning of critical, unknown vocabulary words.
  • Teach or activate any necessary background knowledge.
  • Preview the story or article.
  • If students can read the words in a passage accurately and fluently, their reading comprehension will be enhanced.
  • Carefully and systematically teach and review decoding skills that have been introduced in the core reading program.
  • Teach before passage is read:
    • Program indication
    • Difficult text
    • Outside core program
  • Pre-teach to struggling readers small group.
  • Focus on accuracy, then fluency.
  • Blend with vocabulary instruction
pronunciation of difficult words
Pronunciation of difficult words

Selection of words

  • Provided by core program
  • If not, preview passage to select
  • Divide words into 2 categories:
    • Tell Words – irregular words, words with untaught elements and foreign words
    • Strategy Words – words that can be decoded with minimal assistance
1 tell words
1. Tell words
  • This word is ______________.
  • What word? ______________
  • Spell and read the word.



there along upon woman

2 strategy words
2. Strategy words
  • Single syllable words
    • Precorrect the difficult part of the word

Look at the underlined letters.

What sound? ___________

Sound out the word. (Pause)

What word? ____________

rain boat seed

2 strategy words9
2. Strategy words
  • Multisyllabic words
    • Segment into decodable parts.
    • Guide students in reading each part.

What part?___________

What part? __________

What part?___________

What part?___________

Condensation atmosphere

If any element is unknown, simply tell students the pronunciation of the element.

  • If students understand the meaning of critical vocabulary in the passage, their comprehension will be enhanced.
  • High-quality Classroom Language
  • Reading Aloud to Students
  • Explicit Vocabulary Instruction
  • Word-learning Strategies
  • Wide Independent Reading
  • Attributes of good vocabulary instruction
    • Multiple exposures
    • Definitional information and contextual information
    • Sufficient amount of instructional time to insure understanding of words
    • Active engagement in instruction
  • Select limited number for robust, explicit vocabulary instruction.
    • 3 to 10 words per story for expanded instruction would be appropriate.
    • Briefly tell the meaning of all other words that are needed for comprehension.
  • Words that are unknown.
  • Words that are critical to passage understanding.
  • Words that students are likely to encounter in the future and are generally useful.
  • “Goldilocks Words”
    • Not too difficult
    • Not too easy
    • Just right
  • Teach words AFTER you have read a story to your students and BEFORE students read a selection.

Routine of Isabel Beck

    • Introduce word
    • Student-friendly explanation
    • Illustrate with examples
    • Ask deep processing questions
    • Examples & non-examples
    • Generate own examples
    • Story starter & then complete sentence
  • “Word association” Activity

enemy, disgusting, invited, relieved

“Tell me the word that I am thinking about.

Someone that hates you might be called an _____.

If you didn’t like a food, you might say it is _______.

When a test is over, you often feel ________________.

When you are asked to a party, you are ________. “

  • “Choose” activity

enemy, disgusting, invited, relieved

  • “If you felt relieved after a test, was the test probably easy or difficult?
  • If an enemy gave you the answers before a test, would you believe the answers to be correct or incorrect?
  • If the food was disgusting, would you ask for more or spit it up?
  • If you were invited to a party, would you be asked to come or to stay away?
background knowledge
Background knowledge
  • If students have the background knowledge required by a passage, their comprehension will be enhanced.
background knowledge21
Background knowledge
  • Teach it!
    • Strategy # 1 – Introduce as stated in core program. Actively engage students.
    • Strategy # 2 – “Front load” by teaching additional background knowledge.
    • Strategy # 3 – Prior to reading, select a read aloud that provides necessary background knowledge.
activate background knowledge
Activate background knowledge
  • Strategy # 1 – Ask questions and engage in discussion to activate
  • Strategy # 2 – KWL strategy
  • Strategy # 3 – Brainstorm topics/questions that might be covered
  • If students preview a passage, their comprehension will be enhanced.
  • Discover the content to be covered.
  • Learn what is emphasized.
  • Organized
  • Activate background knowledge
  • Interest level
preview narrative
Preview - narrative
  • Read title. Predict the content of story
  • Preview the illustrations/pictures. Predict the content of the passage.
preview expository informational
Preview – Expository/Informational
  • Read title and predict content.
  • Read introduction and ask “What will we learn in this passage?”
  • Read headings and subheadings. Predict.
  • Read the summary.
  • Warm – Up – Science, Social Studies, Health
      • Title
      • Introduction
    • MIDDLE
      • Headings
      • Subheadings
    • END
      • Summary
      • Questions

Quick Notes from Dr. Archer and Dr. Torgenson

  • Comprehension instruction must mirror the core program to show and continue student gains.
  • Sustain the level of intensity
  • There’s no way to teach perfect when children are present.
  • To comprehend, students must be first taught how to respond.
  • Decoding is necessary but not sufficient for comprehension.

Multisyllabic words –Many students do not read them; but the problem is that English uses them.

  • Learn the rhythm of teaching.
  • Reading First is not about being perfect, but teaching more students to read every year.
  • Scaffold the probability that students can successfully answer the question. Scaffold before, NOT after reading the passage to ensure student understanding.