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Making the Most of Read Aloud Time: How to Boost Vocabulary and Comprehension Through Text-Based Discourse . Presented by : Lana E. Santoro, Ph.D. Pacific Institutes for Research Alexandria, VA Oregon Reading First Red Lion Hotel Portland Convention Center October 16-17, 2008.

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Making the Most of Read Aloud Time:How to Boost Vocabulary and Comprehension Through Text-Based Discourse

Presented by:

Lana E. Santoro, Ph.D.

Pacific Institutes for Research

Alexandria, VA

Oregon Reading First

Red Lion Hotel Portland Convention Center

October 16-17, 2008


Co-Principal Investigators:

Scott Baker, Ph.D.

Lana Edwards Santoro, Ph.D.

David Chard, Ph.D.

Hank Fien, Ph.D.

Funded by the U.S. Department of EducationInstitute for Education Sciences (CFDA No. 84.305)

what is comprehension
What is Comprehension?
  • Comprehensionis the complex cognitive process involving the intentional interaction between reader and text to extract or construct meaning (National Reading Panel, 2000).

Reading comprehension is not an automatic or passive process, but is highly purposeful and interactive – good readers apply a variety of strategies to process text (Honig, Diamond, & Gutlohn, 2000).

building comprehension through discussion
Building Comprehension Through Discussion. . .

The Comprehension Conversation

(Santoro, Baker, Chard, & Howard, 2007)

what the research says about comprehension
What the Research Says About Comprehension

Strategic reading

A reader’s awareness of what strategies are necessary to gain meaning from text and the ability to self-regulate the use of those strategies.


The active monitoring of understanding.

“Thinking about thinking.”

(Coyne, Kame’enui, & Chard, 2003)

Two types of written text:

Narrative text tells a story and usually follows a familiar structure. Narrative text may be the invention of an author, the reporting of factual events, or the retelling of a tale from oral tradition.

Expository textprovides an explanation of facts and concepts. Its main purpose is to inform, persuade, or explain.

comprehension strategies supported by research
Comprehension Strategies Supported by Research

Reader Strategies:

  • Previewing/Predicting
  • Making connections
  • Monitoring and Clarifying
  • Question generation
  • Summarization

Teacher Strategies:

  • Question asking/answering
  • Cooperative learning
  • Graphic/semantic organizers/story maps

National Reading Panel (2000)

benefits from reading aloud
Benefits from Reading Aloud
  • Background knowledge
  • Vocabulary
  • Rich language patterns
  • Text structure
  • Familiarity with the reading process

(Dickinson, Smith, 1994; Fisher, Flood, Lapp, & Frey, 2004; Hickman, Pollard-Durodola, Vaughn, 2004; Justice & Ezell, 2002; Neuman, 1996; Robbins & Ehri, 1994; Santoro, Chard, Baker, & Howard, 2008).

reading styles dickinson smith 1994
Reading Styles (Dickinson & Smith, 1994)
  • Co-constructive
    • Extensive talk during reading, very little before or after
  • Didactic-interactional
    • Limited talk
    • Immediate recall or task organization
  • Performance orientated
    • Talk before and after
    • Any talk during reading was analytic: prediction, vocabulary, personal connectedness, discussion of characters
performance orientated approach
Performance OrientatedApproach
  • Reading aloud does not come naturally for many: Practice
  • Use expression, change tone of voice to match the situation in the story.
  • Adjust your pace with the story.
  • Don’t read too fast.
  • Preview each book.
  • Plan read aloud time carefully.
project purpose
Project Purpose
  • Feature an approach to read alouds that anchors children’s understanding of stories in narrative and informational text structure and strategic vocabulary instruction.
  • Facilitate dialogic interactions between the teacher and students.
  • Promote increased comprehension of text and target vocabulary use.
instructional objectives
Instructional Objectives

Students will learn about and practice …

  • Reading as a thinking activity
  • Preparing to read by identifying text “type” before reading (i.e., why and how to identify narrative or information)
  • Using a consistent framework--based on text type--to inform what to do/attend to before, during, and after reading (i.e., Story Grammar Elements or KWL)
  • Monitoring understanding of text (and what to do if text/vocabulary is not clear)
  • Using text features in information texts
instructional objectives cont
Instructional Objectives (cont)
  • Recognizing and clarifying important details
  • Making connections (i.e., text-self; text-text; text-world) with what is read
  • Using higher level comprehension skills (e.g., prediction, inference)
  • “Retelling” stories/summarizing information
  • “Discussing” texts read (individually; in “Book Clubs”)
  • Using target vocabulary, especially in discussions about text

*Narrative retell: .38 ES

Narrative Comprehension Total

*Expository retell: .39 ES

Expository Comprehension Total

Content Vocabulary (p = .07)


*Gates Reading Comprehension: .36 ES

Gates Listening Comprehension

Told Oral Language

example responses from depth of word knowledge we couldn t have made these up
Example responses from Depth of Word Knowledge:We couldn’t have made these up…
  • S A fossil is something when a dinosaur steps on something and they die and a person picks it, the thing up and they see the footprint inside so they put, it in a museum.
  • E In where?
  • S A museum.
  • E Now use the word fossil in a sentence.
  • S I can't, I don't know anything about it in a sentence.
  • E What does curious mean?
  • S It means you don't know.
  • E Can you say more on that?
  • S What's a hundred plus a hundred? That's curious. What's a hundred plus a hundred? Hundred plus three hundred is what? I don't know.
  • E Now use curious in a sentence.
  • S OK. What's a thousand plus two? {verbal sound for i don't know}
  • E What does yank mean?
  • S Like this {sound of chair moving}
  • E Now use the word nectar in a sentence.
  • S I'm having nectar. Is that really a sentence?
  • E What does proud mean?
  • S Happy like you just swam like a hundred miles.
  • E Now use chrysalis in a sentence.
  • S I saw a beautiful chrysalis then I watched it for days and a beautiful butterfly came out. You write fast.
  • E Not fast enough.
E OK, now use dart in a sentence.
  • S Hey mom can I play darts? Sure. Bonzai! Don't put that in. I just {laughs} I just wanted to say that.
  • E OK, what's a paleontologist?
  • S Paleontologist? I don't know. Oh yes I do. Erase that please. A paleontologist is the person who builds the fossils and they're like a scientist… Want a sentence?
  • E Just a minute. OK, now use paleontologist in a sentence.
  • S Hey mom a paleontologist is at my door. Can I answer and let him in to do some science?
  • E What is a glossary?
  • S I don't know.
  • E Can you use it in a sentence?
  • S Hey mom there's a glossary. What is a glossary anyway?
  • E What is a paleontologist?
  • S Someone who studies fossils… I’ve been a paleontologist my whole life…. You’re going to have to write fast to keep up with me.
  • E What does polite mean?
  • S Polite means you're being respectful and you're being goody good.
  • E And now use polite in a sentence.
  • S That's easy. Watch this Um. I am polite in school.
  • S Polite is when you ask somebody nicely, like, may I please have my glasses back?
  • E Now use polite in a sentence.
  • S Please um give me my glasses back
  • E What's a paleontologist?
  • S I have no idea.
  • E Now use paleontologist in a sentence.
  • S I still have no idea.
pre test narrative retell
Pre-test Narrative Retell
  • S (Um) I forgot the story.
  • E That's okay.
  • E Once upon a time
  • S Once upon a time there was a little boy.
  • S (um) and a big package.
  • S And the little boy opened the package.
  • S and (um) he saw that it was a baby frog.
  • S and the big frog didn't like the little new frog.
  • S (And)>
  • E The baby frog didn't like that there was a baby frog?
  • S The big frog didn't like there was a baby frog.
  • S (and the)>
  • -0:01:24
  • E Can you tell me more?
  • -0:01:26
  • S I forgot.
  • -0:01:30
  • E There was a big frog and he didn't like the baby frog.
  • S (Um he and) the little boy (showed) put the baby frog down (for, um, to, um) to visit (the frog) the big frog.
  • S and the big frog did not like the baby frog anymore.
  • S (and um)>

Number of Plot Episodes Identified: 4 Plot Episodes 2 Major Components

post test narrative retell
Post-test Narrative Retell

s this is the story about "onefrogtoomany".

  • s and (um) a little boy got a package.
  • s and (um) he opened it.
  • s and then he saw there was a baby frog inside.
  • s and then (he put um) he was happy he had a baby frog.
  • s but (the) he already had a big frog already.
  • s and the big frog was jealous of him.
  • s and (um) then he put the baby frog down next to the big frog.
  • s (and then he he um he and then the okay) and then the big frog (um) he said hello in a mean voice.
  • s and then (um) he bent down and bit the baby frog on the leg.
  • s and then they went out.
  • s he sent his pets out to play.
  • s and he the frogs were on riding the turtle.
  • s (and the) and the big frog didn't like sharing the ride.
  • s after a while he kicked the baby frog off.
  • s and then he left the baby frog there in the dirt or mud.
  • s and (um he) then they went on a raft.
  • s well they came to the lake.
  • s and then they went on a raft.
  • s and he did something.
  • s the frog did something.
  • s I can't remember.
  • s (and) and the baby frog got kicked off the>
  • s and by being mean he told him to go home, the frog.
  • s but well the frog the big frog had to go home.
  • s but he didn't do it as he was told.
  • s and (um) the baby frog got pushed.
  • s (the the um okay) the big frog jumped onto the raft.
  • s and then he kicked the baby frog off.
  • s and (then they they after okay) then one of the pets told what happened.
  • s (and then the said) and then the boy said oh no.
  • s and then they searched under wooly pads, logs, in logs.
  • s (and) but they couldn't find the baby frog.
  • s so they went home all feeling sad.
  • s even the big frog felt sorry.
  • s and (um) then they went home.
  • s and the little boy started to cry.
  • s but then they heard a s sound.
  • s and it was sounding like a baby frog.
  • s {big sigh} then the baby frog {big sigh} jumped in joining them.
  • s (and then) {big sigh} and then he (um) landed on the big frog's head.
  • s and then the big frog promised not to hurt the baby frog again.
  • s and that was all.
  • -

Number of Plot Episodes Identified: 26 Plot Episodes 6 Major Components

pre test expository retell
Pre-test Expository Retell
  • S They eat fish.
  • S They eat people and dolphins and other kinds of whales too.
  • - 0:00:25
  • E (Uhhuh).
  • - 0:00:27
  • S I think that's all I know.
  • - 0:00:32
  • E Tell me more about killer whales.
  • - 0:00:34
  • S I don't know anymore.
  • - 0:00:36
  • E (No more)?
  • - 0:00:42

Number of Concepts Identified: 2 Concepts 0 Spontaneous Vocabulary Use

post test expository retell
Post-test Expository Retell
  • -0:00:00
  • S Uh!
  • S (um) they eat (dolphi*) fish penguins dolphins and other kinds of whales.
  • S and when they're born they're almost four hundred pounds.
  • S the male I don't know how long the dorsal fin is.
  • S but the female has a shorter dorsal fin than the male.
  • S it helps them steer so they can get around.
  • S (and when a baby um it weighs) when a baby whale grows up it weighs over a thousand pounds.
  • S (and mhm) and I forgot.
  • -0:01:45
  • E when they grow up they weigh over a thousand pounds?
  • E tell me more about killer whales.
  • -0:02:04
  • S they're born under water above the surface.
  • S when they get teeth they get to eat fish.
  • S when they're born they're being nursed by their mother.
  • S (um um) I forgot.
  • -0:02:41
  • E they're nursed by their mothers.
  • E tell me more.
  • -0:02:50
  • S (mhm) they can swim faster than we can run.
  • S and I think it's twenty four miles per hour.
  • S I don't think so.
  • S but if it's forty two miles per hour that's how old my mom is (mhm).
  • -0:04:12
  • E they swim twenty four miles an hour.
  • -0:04:14
  • S and (um) they don't have gills like fish.
  • S they don't breathe under water.
  • S they have a blowhole so they can breathe under water.
  • S s_s {door slam and lady's laughter drown out student voice}.
  • S and (um) they can stay under water for ten minutes (or more) or longer (I mean).
  • S and that's all I learned.
  • -0:05:04
  • E (alright).
  • -0:05:06
  • S Oh why did you have to {breaks off}^

Number of Concepts Identified: 12 Concepts 3 Spontaneous Vocabulary Use

unit and lesson overview
Unit and Lesson Overview
  • 9 Units (+ a pre Unit)
    • 20 books total (2 books per unit)
  • 7 Lessons in each Unit (2 lessons in pre Unit)
    • 3 lessons with information text
    • 4 lessons with narrative text
  • 7 Lessons implemented across 2 weeks
  • Lessons are designed to take about 20 to 30-minutes
unit and lesson overview1
Unit and Lesson Overview
  • Curriculum is intended to allow for flexibility of implementation
    • Project Calendar Designed Around the 9 Science/Animal Units
  • Extension activities are also recommended to enhance the curriculum
  • Units/Lessons are thematic
science units
Science Units
  • Unit 1: MAMMALS
    • Unit 2: Bats
    • Unit 3: Elephants
  • * Two weeks per unit (7 lessons)
  • * 1 Information text and 1 Narrative text per unit
science units1
Science Units
  • Unit 4: REPTILES
    • Unit 5: Crocodiles
    • Unit 6: Sea Turtles
  • * Two weeks per unit (7 lessons)
  • * 1 Information text and 1 Narrative text per unit
science units2
Science Units
  • Unit 7: INSECTS
    • Unit 8: Ladybugs
    • Unit 9: Butterflies
  • * Two weeks per unit (7 lessons)
  • * 1 Information text and 1 Narrative text per unit
instructional time includes
Instructional time includes. . .
  • 10-15 minutes of the teacher’s read aloud and strategic use of questions and prompts.
  • 5-7 minutes of student partner discussion or “Book Clubs.”
  • ALL lessons include before, during, and after components
  • ALL lessons follow a “repeated reading” model
  • Identifying the purpose for reading
    • Information or Storybook
  • Previewing
    • Title, author, illustrator
  • Predicting/Priming
  • Defining Critical Vocabulary (e.g. if vocabulary word is part of book title)
  • Using consistent framework (e.g., story elements, info. headings, info. text focus questions)
  • Question-asking strategies
  • Making connections (Text to text, text to self, text to world)
  • Making inferences
  • Self-monitoring: What do you do when you don’t understand something?
  • Vocabulary
  • Retell of storybooks
  • Retell of information text (review with KWL chart and tell with information retell sheet)
  • Vocabulary Introduction, Review and Extension Activities
organizing frameworks
Organizing Frameworks

Information Texts

  • KWL:
    • What do we think we know about the topic?
    • What do we want to know about the topic?
    • What have we learned about the topic?

Narrative Texts

  • Story Elements/Personal Response
    • Who is the story about?

Main Character/Character Clues and/or Setting

    • What happened first/next/end?
    • Did I like/not like the story? Why?
repeated reading structure
“Repeated Reading” Structure

Information Text:

  • Lesson 1:
  • Lesson 2:
  • Lesson 3:
repeated reading format information text
“Repeated Reading” Format: Information Text


Prepare to read (preview; id purpose; K & W of KWL Chart)

Read 200-300 words (often selected portions of text)

Review L of KWL Chart; Start retell practice

Lesson 2:

Review info/vocab covered in Lesson 1 (with book/chart)

Read another 200-300 words

Review L of KWL Chart; Continue retell practice

Lesson 3:

Review info/vocab covered in Lessons 1 & 2 (w book/chart)

Read another 200-300 words

Review L of KWL Chart; Do complete retell

repeated reading structure1
“Repeated Reading” Structure

Narrative Text:

  • Lesson 4:
  • Lesson 5:
  • Lesson 6:
  • Lesson 7:
repeated reading format narrative text type
“Repeated Reading” Format:Narrative Text Type


Prepare to read (preview/id purpose/prime)

Read entire story (minimal stops)

Start retell practice (personal response)

Vocabulary introduction

Lessons 5 & 6:

Review vocabulary

“Discuss” story using retell sheet

Retell practice

Lesson 7:

Review vocabulary

Re-read entire story

Do a complete retell

how the curriculum is scaffolded
How the Curriculum is “Scaffolded”
  • Pre-Unit
    • Teach students about Read Aloud routines and materials
  • Units 1 – 3
    • Teacher demonstrates and models strategies
    • More Think Alouds are used
    • Explicit instructional support
  • Units 4 – 6
    • Teacher guides and facilitates
  • Units 7 – 9
    • Teacher elicits
    • Increased use of inferential questions
  • Lead/Guide
    • Work collaboratively with students and the strategy, giving and taking as much as necessary to create meaning
    • Eventually, students take on more and more responsibility
  • Students use strategies independently

(Pardo, 2004)

book selection guidelines
Book Selection Guidelines
  • Topics
    • High interest to young children (e.g., animals)
    • Ability to compare and contrast topics across books
    • Connected to district, school, and curricular themes
    • Connected to state and district standards
  • Target Audience
    • Grade level students
    • Interests of students
    • Length of books
book selection guidelines1
Book Selection Guidelines
  • Diversity and Multicultural Connections
    • Male and female characters
    • Different cultures and ethnicity groups represented
    • Different settings and geographical locations
  • Text Coherence
    • Clear story structure
    • Expository information presented with clarity and accuracy
  • Text-to-Text Author and Illustrator Connections
    • Some books written by the same author
    • Some books illustrated by the same author
what about colorful and engaging illustrations
What about colorful and engaging illustrations?
  • Depends on the purpose of your read aloud.
    • Building vocabulary, language, and comprehension?
      • Read first. Then show pictures.
      • Showing pictures after students have listened to a text excerpt allows them to focus on the text’s language and its meaning without the influence of pictures.
pairing story and information texts
Pairing Story and Information Texts
  • Using content from information text to expand understanding of story text
  • Making text-to-text connections
  • Making thematic connections
  • Enhancing vocabulary
  • Building content redundancy and background knowledge
thinking about the fourth grade slump
Thinking about the “Fourth Grade Slump”
  • Reading comprehension requires knowledge – of words and the world (Hirsch, 2003)
    • Breadth of vocabulary is essential
    • Domain knowledge is important
      • Enables readers to make sense of word combinations and choose among multiple possible word meanings
    • Word knowledge is essential because every text takes for granted the readers’ familiarity with a whole range of unspoken and unwritten facts about the cultural and natural worlds
how much information text is in primary grade classrooms
How Much Information Text is in Primary Grade Classrooms?
  • Observed first grade classrooms for 1-year in the greater Boston metropolitan area (Duke, 2000)
  • Results indicated:
    • Classes spent an average of 3.6 minutes per day with informational text
    • Classrooms in low SES districts spent even less (1.4 minutes per day)
  • Scarcity of informational text in primary grade classrooms and materials (Kamberelis, 1998; Moss & Newton, 1998; Yopp & Yopp, 2000)
why include more informational text in primary classrooms
Why Include More Informational Text in Primary Classrooms?
  • Informational text is key to success in later schooling.
    • “Reading to learn” (Chall, 1983)
  • Informational text is ubiquitous in society
    • Adults read a great deal of nonfiction (e.g., Venesky, 1982; Smith, 2000).
    • 96% of text on the World Wide Web is expository (Kamil & Lane, 1998).
  • Informational text is preferred reading material for some children
    • Students have different reading preferences!
    • Including more informational text in classrooms may improve attitudes toward reading and even serve as a catalyst for overall literacy development (Caswell & Duke, 1998).
why include more informational text in primary classrooms1
Why Include More Informational Text in Primary Classrooms?
  • Informational text often addresses children’s interests and questions.
    • When the text’s topic is of particular interest to that child, his or her reading is likely to improve (Schiefele, Krapp, & Winteler, 1992).
    • Therefore, higher levels of reading achievement and motivation (e.g., Guthrie et al., 1996).
  • Informational text builds knowledge of the natural and social word.
    • Reading and listening to informational text can develop children’s knowledge of the world (e.g., Anderson & Guthrie, 1999: Duke & Kays, 1998)
  • Informational text helps build vocabulary and other kinds of literacy knowledge.
    • Parents and teachers tend more to vocabulary and concepts when reading aloud informational text than narrative text (Mason, Peterman, Powell, & Kerr, 1989; Pellegrini, Perlmutter, Galda, & Brody, 1990)/
  • Think about the books you use for read alouds,
    • Do your books meet some of the book selection guidelines?
    • What other guidelines do you use to select books for read alouds?
    • Pick one book or core reading program text excerpt. What other books or readings could you use to reinforce this read aloud? (e.g., think about pairing information and story text, adding another thematic source, etc.)

General Framework for Teaching Comprehension

Before Reading

During Reading


  • Set objectives for instruction
  • Identify and preteach difficult to read words
  • Prime students’ background knowledge
  • Chunk text
  • Stop periodically to ask students questions
  • Map text structure
  • Model ongoing comprehension monitoring
  • Strategic integration of comprehension instruction
  • Planned review
  • Assessment of students’ understanding
before reading
Before Reading
  • Identifying the purpose for reading
    • Informational text or story
  • Previewing
    • title, author, illustrator
  • Strategic predicting/priming background knowledge
  • Defining critical vocabulary
during reading
During Reading
  • Using consistent framework (e.g., story elements, info. headings, info. text focus questions)
  • Question-asking strategies
    • Literal
    • Organizational
    • Inferential
  • Making connections (Text to text, text to self, text to world)
  • Active thinking (Predict-Prove; Where’s the Evidence?)
  • Identifying main ideas
  • Self-monitoring (What do you do when you don’t understand something?)
  • Vocabulary
after reading
After Reading
  • Structured Retelling (Fuchs et al., 1994)
    • Retell of storybooks
    • Retell of information text (review with KWL chart and tell with information retell sheet)
  • Summarizing
  • Vocabulary Review and Extension Activities
  • Vocabulary Introduction and Preview
after reading1
After Reading
  • Question-Answering
  • Reaction Frames
    • Child’s attention is focused on how

his/her ideas were revised due to the

acquisition of new information(helps

revise preconceived ideas).

  • Think about how the type and nature of text impacts discussion. . .
  • Read and discuss Stellaluna (pp. 16-17, Resource Packet) and Bats (pp. 18-19, Resource Packet).
    • How is your discussion different?
      • Questions? Vocabulary?
    • If your instructional goal is to build comprehension through discussion, what are the implications for text selection?
text structure
Text Structure
  • “. . .students who are knowledgeable about and/or follow the author’s structure in their attempts to recall a text remember more than those who do not. Second, more good than poor readers follow the author’s text structure in their attempt to recall a text” (Pearson & Fielding, 1991, p. 827).
narrative text structure
Narrative Text Structure
  • Story structure underlies the organization of the text (e.g., character clues, plot, setting, conflict, etc.)
  • Recounts personal experience based on something which really happened or might have happened
  • All details work together in an integrated way to create a complete story with beginning, development, turning point, resolution
critical features
Critical Features
  • Main Character
    • Something About the Character; Character Clues
  • What Happened First
  • What Happened Next, Next, etc.
  • How Did the Story End?
    • Discuss Change in Character
information text structure
Information Text Structure
  • Many structures (e.g., sequence, compare/contrast, problem/solution).
  • Gives information, explains, clarifies, defines.
  • Teaches, reveals, informs, or amplifies the reader’s understanding.
what are some types of organizational frames
What are Some Types of Organizational Frames?
  • Descriptive
  • Enumerative
  • Cause/Effect
  • Compare/Contrast
  • Problem/Solution
  • Reaction
  • K-W-L with common questions
    • What you think you KNOW
    • What you WANT to Learn
    • What you LEARNED

(Ogle, 1986)

k w l

What You Think You Know

What You Want to Know

What You Learned

curriculum example
Curriculum Example
  • K-W-L with common sets of questions
    • General Animals
      • What is a reptile? (What makes a reptile a reptile?)
      • What are some types of reptiles?
    • Specific Animals
      • What does it look like?
      • What does it eat?
extending frameworks to content area instruction
Extending Frameworks to Content Area Instruction
  • Living Things (Animals)
    • What types of animals are ________?
    • What do they look like?
    • What do they eat?
    • Where do they live?
    • How do they survive?
    • What are their challenges? (What threatens their survival?)
    • What is unusual or interesting about them?
    • Hoare are they useful or important?

____ Name____________________


Penguins are ____________________.

By Natalie Golden and Andrea DeLeon, Bren Mar Park


Penguins eat ________________________________________




Penguins live in ______________________________.

A special fact I learned about Penguins is




people e g martin luther king
People (e.g., Martin Luther King)
  • Who was he/she?
  • When did he/she live?
  • Why is he/she famous? What were his/her accomplishments?
  • Were there any unusual or interesting things about him?
holidays e g thanksgiving valentine s day
Holidays(e.g., Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day)
  • What is the holiday?
  • Why do we celebrate it?
  • How do we celebrate it?
  • What traditions are associated with the holiday?
  • When did we first start celebrating this holiday? When the holiday began, how was it celebrated?
nonliving objects e g igneous rocks
Nonliving Objects(e.g., Igneous Rocks)
  • What are they?
  • What do they look like, feel like, smell like?
  • Where are they found?
  • How are they formed?
  • Are there different types?
  • What is unusual or interesting about them?
  • How are they useful or important?
events e g the stamp act
Events(e.g., The Stamp Act)
  • When did this event occur?
  • Where did it occur?
  • Why did it occur?
  • What happened?
  • How did it end?
  • Was there anything usual or interesting that happened?
  • Why was it important?
  • What did people learn from it?
  • Apply the organizing frameworks to your content area units and themes (See Content Area Planning Guide).
  • Does your content area instruction cover any other topics that don’t “fit” the organizing frameworks discussed? If so, what focus questions would apply?
  • Think about/discuss how you will integrate the use of organizing frameworks with other content area instruction.
  • What books and themes will you use for your read aloud time?
i love the look of words
I Love the Look of Words

Popcorn leaps, popping from the floor

Off a hot black skillet

And into my mouth.

Black words leap,

Snapping from the white page. Rushing my eyes.

Sliding into my brain which gobbles them the

way my tongue and teeth chomp buttered popcorn.

When I have stopped reading,

Ideas from the words stay stuck

In my mind, like the sweet

Smell of butter perfuming my

Fingers long after the popcorn is finished.

I love the book and the look of words

The weight of ideas that popped into my mind

I love the tracks

Of new thinking in my mind

Maya Angelou

knowledge of a word
Knowledge of a Word

Knowing a vocabulary word is

“not an all-or-nothing proposition”

(Beck & McKeown, 1991)

Levels of Vocabulary Knowledge

Association Comprehension Generation

Processing Processing Processing

knowledge of a word1
Knowledge of a word
  • Association Processing: Students simply learn an association.
  • Examples: a synonym or single context
knowledge of a word2
Knowledge of a word
  • Comprehension Processing: Students apply a learned association to demonstrate understanding of the word
  • Examples: antonym, filling in a sentence blank, classifying word with other words
knowledge of a word3
Knowledge of a word
  • Generation Processing: Students take a comprehended association and generating a novel product using it.
  • Examples: restate definition in own words, comparing definition to own experiences, making a novel sentence

Your Turn: Knowledge of Words

Know it well, can explain it, use it

Know something about it, can relate it to a situation

Have seen or heard the word

Do not know the word








(Beck, McKeown, Kucan, 2002, p. 12)

identifying vocabulary words to teach
Identifying Vocabulary Words to Teach

(Stahl, 1986)

  • Is the word important for understanding the meaning of the text?
  • Is student likely to run into the word again and again?
  • Is it likely that the student will get the meaning of the word from the context?
  • Decide how thoroughly the words will have to be taught? (i.e., teaching words that are close to known words).
  • Evaluate student’s depth of knowledge.
word selection
Word Selection
  • Functional and meaningful
  • Rich, varied, and interesting without compromising the text’s overall meaning
  • Important to understanding the story

(Kuhn & Stahl, 1998)

tier selection approach beck mckeown kucan 2002
Tier Two Words








Students’ Likely Expressions

salesperson or clerk

have to

take care of

keep going




Tier Selection Approach(Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002)
activity word selection
Activity:Word Selection
  • Choose vocabulary from your book that you feel are difficult.
  • Think about the Tier 1, 2, and 3 word selection criteria.
  • Narrow the list to the words you feel students must know to understand the story, meanings, themes, etc.
  • Identify the words you plan to teach.
traditional definition
Traditional Definition

delicate is defined by The American Heritage Dictionary as:

(1) pleasing to the senses, especially in a subtle way, (2)

exquisitely fine or dainty, (3) frail in constitution or health,

(4) easily broken or damaged, (5) marked by sensitivity of

discrimination, (6) considerate of the feelings of others, (7)

requiringtactfultreatment, (8) fine or soft in touch or skill,

(9) keenlyaccurate in response or reaction, (10) very

subtle in difference or distinction (p. 378).

Has excellent definitions and doesn’t use a lot of big words to define other words, nor does it give circular definitions (defining cat as an animal as a cat).
  • Paperback: 1088 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins Canada; 2nd edition (January, 2002)
  • ISBN: 0007123046
cobuild definition
COBUILD Definition
  • COBUILD approach to defining vocabulary—explains words rather than providing obscure definitions
  • Delicate: something that is fragile and needs to be handled carefully

(Stahl, 1999)

definitions cobuild
Definitions: COBUILD

Mammal examples: tiger, horse, dolphin, whale, monkey, dog, cat, people, hare, bat

Why are all of these animals called mammals?

Because scientists put animals into groups or categories based on ways they are alike

definitions cobuild1
Definitions: COBUILD

So, how are these animals alike? Help me think of some things that mammals have in common.




Drinks its mother’s milk as a baby

Most are born from its mother

Has hair/fur on its body

activity student friendly definitions
Activity: Student Friendly Definitions
  • Write student friendly definitions, examples, and non-examples for the words you selected to teach.

A Multi-Level Instructional Approach

  • Incidental Exposure
  • Embedded Instruction
  • Extended Instruction
multi level approach
Multi-Level Approach
  • Incidental Exposure
    • Read storybooks to children that contain varied and complex vocabulary.
      • Much of children’s vocabulary development occurs as a result of incidental and cumulative experience
  • Embedded Instruction
    • Provide embedded instruction on a subset of words from the storybook.
      • Target words that the students are unlikely to know and that they will continue to encounter in school and in texts.
  • Extended Instruction
    • Provide extended instruction on a subset of words from the storybook.
      • Target words that are essential for understanding important ideas and concepts in the story and that students need to make immediate use of.
exposure to print senechal legevre hudson lawson 1996
Exposure to Print(Senechal, LeGevre, Hudson, & Lawson, 1996)
  • Shared Reading
    • provides exposure to words not frequently encountered in the spoken language
    • undivided attention of an adult
      • questioning, reinforcing new knowledge
    • children are frequently read the same book a number of times encouraging memory and repetition
exposure to print senechal legevre hudson lawson 19961
Exposure to Print(Senechal, LeGevre, Hudson, & Lawson, 1996)
  • Looked at student knowledge of storybooks to examine variance in vocabulary scores
  • Found that storybook exposure explained variance in vocabulary even after other factors (IQ, SES) were controlled for.
exposure to print senechal legevre hudson lawson 19962
Exposure to Print(Senechal, LeGevre, Hudson, & Lawson, 1996)
  • Participants - 119 children ages 3 to 6 and their parents
  • Experiment #1 - Parents’ knowledge of storybooksexplained variance in children’s receptivevocabulary after controlling for IQ, parents’ exposure to adult reading material and parents’ education
    • Parent knowledge of storybooks positively correlated with children’s vocabulary scores
  • LET’S TRY!
exposure to print senechal legevre hudson lawson 19963
Exposure to Print(Senechal, LeGevre, Hudson, & Lawson, 1996)
  • Experiment #2 - Children’s knowledge of storybooks was related to exposure
    • Parent knowledge of storybooks positively correlated with children’s vocabulary scores
    • Children’s knowledge of book titles was moderately correlated with parental knowledge of children’s books, number of children's books in the home, storybook reading onset and frequency of library attendance.
why storybook reading
Why Storybook Reading?
  • Research suggests that book-reading experiences foster vocabulary growth. (e.g., Elley 1989, Rice, 1990).
  • Talk focused on the meaning of stories fosters vocabulary growth. (e.g., Dickinson & Smith, 1994.).
  • Storybooks provide a rich source of vocabulary. (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998).

Selected Statistics for Major Sources of Spoken and Written Language (Sample Means)

Rank of Median Word

Rare Words per 1000

PRINTED TEXTSAbstracts of scientific articles 4389 128.0Newspapers 1690 68.3Popular magazines 1399 65.7Adult books 1058 52.7Comic books 867 53.5Children’s books 627 30.9Preschool books 578 16.3

TELEVISION TEXTSPopular prime-time adult shows 490 22.7Popular prime-time children’s shows 543 20.2Cartoon shows 598 30.8Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street 413 2.0ADULT SPEECH Expert witness testimony 1008 28.4College graduates to friends, spouses 496 17.3

(Adapted from Hayes and Ahrens, 1988)

incidental benefits with repeated readings
Incidental Benefits withRepeated Readings
  • Studies indicate that it is more beneficial to read the same story several times rather than just once.
  • Effects on broad language skills, vocabulary, and future reading success.
  • Three times seems to be sufficient to get the effect.
effects of instruction
Effects of Instruction

Type of Instruction

Instructional Time per Word

Breadth of Word Knowledge

Depth of Word Knowledge

Embedded Instruction


2 to 3 words learned

Partial Knowledge

Extended Instruction

2 to 3 words learned



vocabulary instruction
Vocabulary Instruction
  • Embedded Instruction
    • Simple explanation within the context of the story (e.g., Biemiller & Boote, 2006; Penno et al., 2002)
    • Time efficient – allows for introduction of many words (breadth)
    • Few exposures to target words, limited to the context of the story
vocabulary instruction1
Vocabulary Instruction
  • Extended Instruction
    • Robust approach that “offers rich information about words and their use” (e.g., Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002; Coyne, Simmons, Kame’enui, & Stoolmiller, 2004)
    • Time intensive –limits instruction to fewer words (depth)
    • Many encounters with words in varied contexts beyond the story
what the research says
What the Research Says
  • A reader has about a 5 percent change of learning a new word fully from encountering it only once in print. Therefore, when specific words are key to understanding a concept, intentional, explicit instruction in word meanings is efficient and productive (Nagy, Anderson, & Herman, 1987).
facilitating vocabulary during reading
Facilitating VocabularyDuring Reading
  • Introduce target words before reading the story.
  • As you come to words in the story, point to an illustration, give a definition, or act out the word.
  • Engage students in dialogue about the target words. Students should actually say the words during the dialogic interactions.
teaching vocabulary during reading
Teaching Vocabulary During Reading
  • Ask the child to repeat the synonym or definition.
  • Focus on one interpretation of the word at a time.
  • Important to begin to use the word in slightly different contexts (e.g., uses of word beyond the story context).
teaching vocabulary during reading1
Teaching Vocabulary During Reading
  • Relate the word to the student’s personal experiences.
  • Point to illustrations, give brief definitions, or demonstrate the word through action or voice inflection.
  • Repeat words and provide multiple exposures!
vocabulary routine
Vocabulary Routine
  • Vocabulary Teaching Routine
    • Teacher: Introduce/review vocabulary word
    • Students: Say the word
    • Teacher: Define the word
    • Students: Say the word’s definition
    • Teacher: Encourage students to listen for and use new vocabulary
varied and rich
Varied and Rich
  • Provide opportunities to discuss words in extended discourse before and after reading.
  • Provide tasks that challenge students to process word meanings at a deeper and more complex level.
    • Classifying the word with other words (e.g., concept maps, word maps, semantic maps)
    • Finding a synonym or antonym
    • Making up a novel sentence with the word
    • Relating the definition to one’s experience

Extended Instruction

  • Making Semantic Connections and Promoting Relationships Between Words
  • Promoting Interactions with Words
what the research says1
What the Research Says
  • People’s ability to infer or retain new words in general is strongly dependent on their background knowledge of other words and concepts (Robbins & Ehri, 1994).
  • Read an article from a Melbourne, Australia newspaper. . .
making semantic connections
Making Semantic Connections
  • Classifying words with other words
  • Concept Definition Mapping (Schwartz, 1988)
      • Strategy for teaching students the meaning of key concepts
      • Graphic organizers that help students understand the essential attribute of a words meaning
  • Empirically demonstrated to facilitate student success in vocabulary development (e.g., Anderson-Inman, Knox-Quinn, & Horney, 1996; Bos & Anders, 1990; Morre & Readance, 1984)

Graphic Organizers














Powerful Concept Maps


use powerful word maps
Use Powerful Word Maps!
  • Four Square
    • Examples and non-examples
    • Synonyms and antonyms
  • Four Square
    • Student Friendly Definition
    • Synonyms
    • Picture
    • Used in Sentence
  • Same/Opposite
  • Yes/No Examples

Extended Instruction

  • Making Semantic Connections and Promoting Relationships Between Words
  • Promoting Interactions with Words
what the research says2
What the Research Says
  • A robust approach to vocabulary involves directly explaining the meanings of word along with thought-provoking, playful, and interactive follow-up. (Beck et al., 2002)
  • Vocabulary Expansion
    • Questions (Q)
    • Reasons (R)
    • Examples (E)
vocabulary methodology
Vocabulary Methodology

Beck, I., McKeown, M., Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life. Guildford Press: New York.

questions reasons examples
Questions, Reasons, Examples

(Q) If you chew little pieces of a cracker, are you nibbling the cracker? (R) How do you know?

(Q) If you take a huge bite from an apple, are you nibbling the apple? (R) How do you know?

(E) Give me an example of a food you would nibble.

(E) Give me an example of a food you would chomp.

(Q/E) What animal might nibble their food?

(Q/E) What animal might chomp their food?


I’d like you to look at this picture and see if you can remember what happened during this part of the story.

“Dodging and shrieking, Mother Bat tried to escape…” Why do you think Mother Bat was flying all around trying to get away from the owl?

--Objective: try to get students to say “protect”

Who can tell me what the word protect means?

To keep safe from injury, danger, damage


Different animals need different things to survive. What does the word survive mean?

To stay alive

examples using words beyond context personal experience
Examples:Using Words Beyond ContextPersonal Experience

I am going to say some things and you tell me how they could protect you.

a pot holder

a smoke alarm


seat belts


suntan lotion

examples making choices
Examples:Making Choices

I’m going to say some things about what some mammals might need to survive. If you think the mammal needs the item to survive say, “SURVIVE.” If not, shake your head like this –indicate ‘no.’

examples making choices1
Examples:Making Choices
  • If any of these things I say would make someone look ludicrous, say “That’s ludicrous.” If not, don’t say anything.
    • Dressing like a gypsy
    • Playing in a child’s sandbox when you are an adult
    • Dancing to music
    • Eating 50 hotdogs in one sitting
    • Playing in a band
  • If any of the things I say would make someone look radiant, say “You’d be radiant.” If not, don’t say anything.
    • Ranking leaves in your yard
    • A bride dressed for her wedding
    • Participating in a marathon
    • Meeting your favorite rock star
    • Cleaning your garage
video vocabulary examples
VideoVocabulary Examples

Before Reading Vocabulary Discussion

After Reading Vocabulary Review

  • How does the teacher use the vocabulary teaching routine? Are any components missing? If so, what components?
  • Describe the use of vocabulary expansion (e.g., use of vocabulary questions, reasons, and examples).
  • Highlight the vocabulary instruction in the sample lessons.
    • Highlight the vocabulary teaching routines
    • Highlight vocabulary expansion opportunities.
    • Add notes for vocabulary expansion (e.g., questions, reasons, and examples).
guidelines for retells
Guidelines for Retells
  • MODEL retells.
  • Prompt students to talk in complete sentences
  • When you model a retell, try to use some of the target vocabulary in the retell if possible
  • Demonstrate how to use simple sketches and pictures when completing the retell sheets
  • Use retell sheets for monitoring and student partner checks

(Hansen, 1978; Irlen, 2003; Santoro, Chard, Howard, & Baker, 2008; Williams, 2005)

curriculum example1
Curriculum Example
  • Teacher retellings

“I’m going to retell the story Bear Snores On. [Teacher models retell] Did I include all the story information in my retell?”

video preparing for retells
VideoPreparing for Retells
  • Retell Discussion
  • Retell Model
retelling with book club partners
Retelling with Book Club Partners
  • Creating book clubs. . .
  • • Rank order students.
  • • Split the rank ordered list into the top and bottom halves.
  • • Pair the top ranked student in the upper half with the top ranked student in the lower half (i.e., #1 with # 13 if class has 26 students).
  • Pair the next two students according to the above procedures
  • These 4 students will be Book Group 1.
  • • Adjust pairings according to “personality” issues.
  • Modified from Hasbrouck, 1998.
retelling with book clubs partners
Retelling with Book Clubs Partners
  • Establish guidelines and a routine
  • Limit the amount of time book clubs talk (e.g., 2 minutes with reminders to take turns at 30 sec., 60 sec., etc.)
  • Behavior expectations are ESSENTIAL!
curriculum example2
Curriculum Example
  • Student Retellings with Partners

“Listeners, think about whether your partner said everything he or she was supposed to. If they included the book type, topic, and information about what makes an animal a mammal AND what types of animals are mammals, tell them they did a good job. If your partner didn’t say one or more of those things, you need to tell him or her they should do so next time.”

hurray for retells
Hurray for Retells!
  • Retells are IMPORTANT so add lots of HYPE and EXCITEMENT!
for additional practice consider literature discussion groups
For Additional Practice, Consider Literature Discussion Groups
  • Encourage the use of meaningful vocabulary
  • Provide facilitators as necessary (yarn, paper clips, graphic organizers, strategy cards)
  • Make this a routine with heterogeneous language groups
where s the evidence
Where’s the Evidence?
  • Ask students to generate a question from the text. On paper, have them write the question, its answer, and the page number wherever the answer is located in the text.
  • Have students ask their questions without revealing the answers.
  • After other students respond, have the student who asked the question confirm whether the answer is correct or incorrect.
  • Ask students to generate three or four more questions. . . “Play Teacher”
  • Using the sample text, play Where’s the Evidence in small groups.
rap strategy schumaker denton deshler 1984
RAP Strategy (Schumaker, Denton, & Deshler, 1984)
  • Read a paragraph.
    • Read the paragraph silently. As you read, be sure to think about what the words mean.
  • Ask yourself, “What were the main ideas and details of this paragraph?”
    • Ask, “What are the main ideas and details?” This question helps you think about what you just read. To help you, you may need to look quickly back over the paragraph an find the main idea and the details that are related to this paragraph.
  • Put the main idea and details in your own words.
    • Now put the main idea and details into your own words. When you the information in your own words, it helps you remember the information. Try to give at least two details related to the main idea.
demonstrate explicit steps strategies
Demonstrate Explicit Steps & Strategies

Curriculum example: Identifying the Main Idea


Tell students that it is impossible to remember everything that they read – especially when they are reading expository text. Explain that learning how to identify the most important, or main, idea of a passage will make it easier for them to remember what they read. Point out that a main idea can be summed up in one sentence.

Say: “We are going to figure out the main idea of a group of sentences. There are two steps in thinking of a main-idea sentence. First we name the person in the paragraph. Second, we will tell the main thing that the person did in all the sentences.”

(From Honig, Diamond, & Gutlohn, 2000)

(Coyne, Kame’enui, & Chard, 2003)


Using a Main Idea Chart




Main Idea


Using a Main Idea Chart




Main Idea

Bantu migrated south

Wars during the

Bantu migration

resulted in many

small tribes’ demise.


They fought other tribes

They often won

Losing tribes joined them


Main Idea Sentence

Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 3


Summary Chart

Main Idea

Main Idea

Main Idea




Things you found out:

Interesting things:


Question you still have:


  • Discuss strategies for promoting instructionally effective and efficient retell discussions.
  • Look at Read Aloud lessons and highlight the retell models. Note strategies and ideas for retell models. For example, will you model and skip a critical component of the retell so students can monitor and provide feedback?
  • List ideas for making student retell practice effective and efficient. How will you group students? How will you manage time? How can you streamline retell routines?
video information read aloud
VideoInformation Read Aloud
  • Unit 4: Reptiles (Information Text, Lesson #2)
    • Are the main components of the Read Aloud program implemented?
    • List effective instructional strategies.
      • Before, During, and After
    • What would you recommend to improve or enhance the Read Aloud instruction?
      • Before, During, and After
video storybook read aloud
VideoStorybook Read Aloud
  • Unit 4: Reptiles (Story Text, Lesson #4)
    • Are the main components of the Read Aloud program implemented?
    • List effective instructional strategies.
      • Before, During, and After
    • What would you recommend to improve or enhance the Read Aloud instruction?
      • Before, During, and After
text focused discourse
Text-Focused Discourse
  • Discourse guides students to understand text at a more sophisticated level (Wilkinson & Silliman, 2000).
  • Builds on ideas and promotes meaningful connections between ideas (Gersten et al., 2001).
  • Can clarify and substantiate students’ understandings of concepts, vocabulary & ideas (Pressley & McCormick, 1995).
what we know interactive dialogue
What We Know:Interactive Dialogue
  • Requires a student to step back and reflect on the storyline or the language in the story.
  • Students must become part of the teacher-student dialogue by actively contributing or attending.
  • Leads to deep processing, repetition, and additional connections.

(Beck, McKeown, Hamilton, & Kucan, 1997; Whitehurst et al., 1994)


Using Effective Teacher Talk

(Beck, McKeown, Sandora, Kucan, & Worthy, 1996; Berry, 2006; Boyd, 2006; Echevarria, 1995; Goldenberg, 1982; Goldman & Rakestraw, 2000; Kucan & Beck, 1997 )

teachers ask effective questions
Teachers Ask Effective Questions
  • Questions progress from literal (or explicit) to more complex (or implicit).
    • Always remember your instructional purpose and learners’ skill levels!
  • Questions should elicit more than a simple yes or no response.
  • Ask students’ opinion or feelings.
levels of questions make a difference
Levels of Questions Make a Difference

Different levels of questions can help students increase their comprehension of texts that are read aloud and those that are read independently.








Recall information

Grasp the meaning

Use learned material in new ways

Use procedures and knowledge

Separate and understand the parts of something

Make decisions

Judge something based on criteria

Make connections

Put elements together













Give examples




















cause and effect


Point out

Draw conclusions














What if…







Continuum of Questions

(Adapted from Anderson & Krathwohl, 200; UT System/TEA, 2003)

  • Develop the following question types for “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
    • Remember
    • Understand
    • Apply
    • Analyze
    • Evaluate
    • Create
mary had a little lamb
Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary had a little lamb,

Its fleece was white as snow.

Everywhere that Mary went,

The lamb was sure to go.

It followed her to school one day,

Which was against the rules.

It made the children laugh and play,

To see a lamb at school.

  • Using the sample read aloud lesson as a guide, generate questions that represent a continuum of complexity. Be sure to include types and levels of questions that are complex/analytical as well as simple/literal.
    • Write 2 questions you could ask before reading.
    • Write 2 questions you could ask during reading.
    • Write 2 questions you could ask after reading.
teachers use explicit instructional strategies
Teachers Use Explicit Instructional Strategies
  • Explicitly teaching children to apply comprehension strategies when they read improves their comprehension (Duke & Perason, 2002; National Reading Panel, 2000).
    • Monitoring comprehension and adjusting as needed
    • Activating and applying relevant prior knowledge (including making predictions)
    • Generating questions and/or thinking aloud
    • Attending to and uncovering text structure
    • Drawing inferences
    • Constructing visual representations
    • Summarizing

Comprehension Strategies Chart

(Barton & Sawyer, 2003)

Taking Multiple Perspectives


Making Thematic Connections

Making Predictions

Determining Cause and Effect

Drawing Conclusions

Envisioning Character Change

Literal Strategies


Comparing and Contrasting


Locating details


How to Teach Monitoring and Clarifying

Teacher actions should model how to stop periodically and check understanding.

Example- Teacher thinks aloud:

Every now and then I stop reading and see if the story is making sense. I ask myself if I know who the story is about and what is happening.


How to Teach Monitoring and Clarifying

Teacher actions should model how to respond when

something doesn’t make sense.

Example- Teacher says:

If I come to a word I don’t know, I can keep reading to see if the rest of the sentence helps me figure it out. If that doesn’t work, I might ask someone for help or look it up in the dictionary.


How to Teach Monitoring and Clarifying

Teacher actions should model how to respond when

something doesn’t make sense.

Example- Teacher says:

If I don’t understand what’s

happening in the story, I would go back and reread part

of the story to see if it helps me understand what is


teaching inferences
Teaching Inferences

Clues from the text:

Clues from my experience:

My inference is:

questions for predictions
Questions for Predictions
  • What do you predict will happen next?
  • Was your prediction accurate? Why?/How?
  • If your prediction wasn’t accurate, how did you use the text to make your prediction?



  • Look at the sample lessons.
    • What levels/types of questions are used?
    • What are the embedded instructional strategies?

. . .Facilitating Read Aloud Talk

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Troubleshooting

-See “Talk Dr.”

-Some of the following examples are from Beck, McKeown, Hamiltion, & Kucan (1997).Questioning the Author: An Approach for Enhancing Student Engagement with Text. Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association.

how do i know when i am leading the discussions too much
How do I know when I am leading the discussions too much?
  • . . .when you are doing too much of the talking.
  • If you do most of the talking, you are probably doing most of the thinking.
  • Try giving a small amount of information, perhaps by modeling. For example, “What I was thinking about here was that. . .” Then, pose a follow-up question.
how can i tell when i am not leading discussions enough
How can I tell when I am not leading discussions enough?
  • . . .when students are repeating responses.
  • . . .when a lot of time is spent discussing issues that are tangential rather than central to the text.
  • Try to lead more by using questions that restore focus on important ideas (Turn Back, Rephrase, Recap).
do i always have to follow up what students say
Do I always have to follow-up what students say?
  • Yes! You should be responding implicitly or explicitly to all students who offer responses.
  • But, every student’s response does not need to be extensively followed up.
    • When responses are sufficient to cover a point, use an acknowledgment. “Ok, so John just noticed something interesting.”
    • When a response is not useful, mark the response in a neutral way. “Ok, that’s an interesting point.”
  • Remember, a discussion is most effective and constructive when students address and respond to one another’s ideas.
how do i handle a response that contains wrong or mostly wrong information
How do I handle a response that contains wrong or mostly wrong information?
  • If the problem involves misunderstanding or misinterpretations of text information, you might ask the student to reconsider his or her response by using a follow-up question.
    • For example, “Hmm. Is that really what the author said?”
how do i handle a response that contains mostly wrong information
How do I handle a response that contains mostly wrong information?
  • If students seem deeply confused, you may want to explicitly redirect the student to what the text said.
  • Another approach is to “model confusion.”
    • For example, “This is confusing; the author hasn’t really made this clear.”
  • Turn the thinking back, “Jorge said ______. Do you agree?
  • “How do you know?”
  • “I think you are saying. . .”
  • [Repeat the part of the lesson that introduced that material]
what if a student comes up with a good idea that i don t want to deal with right then
What if a student comes up with a good idea that I don’t want to deal with right then?
  • Ask the student to hold the thought for a while and mention that you will return to it later.
  • You acknowledge the idea, but signal that you are going to move on.
  • Making a note on the chalkboard might be a way to remember points you want to consider at another time.
what if a student is talking off topic
What if a student is talking off topic?
  • (You may have to interrupt)
  • “That is an interesting story, but we are talking about _______ right now.”
  • “Let’s save that story for later when we are all done.”
  • “Remember, we are talking about _____ right now.”
  • “Let me say the question again.”
  • “Save your idea and you can tell me as we walk back to class.”
what about students who do not participate
What about students who do not participate?
  • Try to elicit a few quick responses from a sample of students who are a little reluctant to participate.
    • For example, “What do you think, Jorge? And you, Larry? And, Mary, what about you? Or “All of you who agree with Suzy, raise your hand.” [Piggyback]
what about students who do not participate1
What about students who do not participate?
  • Try to turn the thinking back.
    • For example, “Mary told us what she thinks, what do you think of her idea?”
  • Try calling on students who seem to be on the verge of speaking but then shy away from it. Respond with lots of praise and excitement when they do respond.
what if you ask a question and no one answers
What if you ask a question and no one answers?
  • Ask the child directly
  • Rephrase the question
  • Model for the students
  • Reteach
  • “I think the author was saying ______. Do you agree?”
  • Give the inverse of the question. (E.g., if you are looking for a student to say “the reptiles have scales” say, “so do reptiles have fur?”)
  • Give a choice. (E.g., “Is a sea turtle a mammal or a reptile?”)

Increasing Student Talk

(Palincsar & Brown, 1984; Palincsar, Brown, & Campione, 1993; Santoro, Baker, Chard, & Howard, 2007; Rosner, Hoffman, Labbo, & Farest, 1992; Wong & Jones, 1982).

how do you teach students to ask questions
How do you teach students to ask questions?
  • Question Cards
    • Green Cards (Before)
    • Yellow Cards (During)
    • Red Cards (After)

(UT System/TEA, 2002)

  • What does the title say?
  • What do the pictures say?
  • What do I already know about?
    • If reading chapter books, review what happened.
yellow cards
Yellow Cards
  • Who?
    • Tell who the story is about, or name the characters.
  • What?
    • State the problem.
  • When?
    • Tell the time the story takes place.
  • Where?
    • Tell the time the story takes place.


    • Explain why something happened.
  • How?
    • Tell how the problem was solved.
  • What do I think will happen next?
    • Make predictions.
red cards
Red Cards
  • Who were the characters?
    • State the main characters.
  • What was the setting?
    • Tell when and where the story takes place.
  • What was the problem?
    • Explain the problem (Relate the characters)
  • How was the problem solved?
    • Explain how the problem was resolved.
  • What did. . .?
    • Elaborate on why something happened.
  • Modify the sample lesson to include the use of question cue cards to facilitate the use of student question asking.
  • What would Information/Expository Cards look like?
promoting student talk
Promoting Student Talk
  • Partner Talk

Take 30 seconds and tell your partner

Turn to your neighbor and tell. . .

  • Think Pair ShareAgree?/Disagree? Why?

Who has a different idea?

  • Discourse Follow-up and Elaboration

How do you know?

Why do you think that?

Tell me more about. . .

partner talk
Partner Talk
  • Turn to your partner and. . .
    • Tell who the story is about. Who is the main character?
    • Tell one thing we just learned about mammals.
    • Tell what you think will happen next.
think pair share lyman 1981
Think-Pair-Share (Lyman, 1981)
  • THINK. Teacher promotes students’ thinking with a question or prompt.
  • PAIR. Using designated partners, students PAIR up to talk about the answer each came up with. They compare their mental or written notes and identify the answers they think are best, most convincing, or most unique.
think pair share lyman 19811
Think-Pair-Share (Lyman, 1981)
  • SHARE. After students talk in pairs for a few moments, the teacher calls for pairs to SHARE their thinking with the rest of the class. Can record student responses on chart paper or on the overhead.
  • Enhance the sample lesson with student partner talk opportunities. When and how could student partner talk opportunities be used?

Follow-up, Elaborate, Expand, and Rephrase & Repeat

(Beck, McKeown, Sandora, Kucan, & Worthy, 1996; Berry, 2006; Boyd, 2006)

follow up
  • If you want a student to clarify or demonstrate their understanding. . .
  • If you want a student to show how they are thinking about the text. . .
  • If you want to keep the group discussion going. . .
follow up1
  • Use Follow-up Questions
    • Why?
      • Why do you think that. . .
    • How?
      • How do you know?
    • What?
      • What does the text say? What do you think the author might be trying to say? What do you make of this? What do you think that means? What’s this all about?
    • Connect it!
      • How does this connect to . . .? [Text to Self, Text to Text, Text to World]
follow up2
  • Turn the thinking back to students for further consideration.
    • Maria thinks the girl is upset. Does anyone know why she is upset?
try it
Try It
  • Turn the thinking back
    • S: Polly is the main character.
    • T: ?
    • S: I think reptiles have clear eyelids to help protect their eyes.
    • T: ?
    • S: McDuff wanted a home.
    • T: ?
  • If a student provides a simple (“unsophisticated”) response to an open ended question.
  • If you want a student to add more information or content to their response.
if a student provides a simple response to an open ended question
If a student provides a simple response to an open ended question. . .
  • Ask student to. . .
    • Elaborate what they are thinking or feeling about an event or character in a story, etc.
      • Tell me more about. . .
      • Why/why not?
      • That’s right. Now tell me one more thing about. . .
      • Add more about _______.
  • If a student provides a limited utterance or short response.
  • . . .think Language Expansion!
if a student provides a limited utterance or short response
If a student provides a limited utterance or short response. . .
  • Prompt the child
    • What is this? (a cat)
  • Evaluate what the child says
    • Think about what the child says. Is the answer correct? What information can you add?
  • Expand on what the child says
    • Yes, it’s a big orange cat. Now you say that.
  • ask childtoRepeat.
    • (a big orange cat).
try it1
Try It
  • T: Who is the main character?
  • S: Stellaluna
  • Evaluate?
  • Expand. . .
  • Student Repeats
try it2
Try It
  • Teacher: Nibble means to bite off and eat in small pieces. Watch me. . .This is what nibbling looks like. Show me what nibbling looks like. Now tell me what nibbling means.
  • Student: taking small bites
  • Evaluate?
  • Expand. . .
  • Student Repeats
super sentences
Super Sentences!
  • Student Purpose:Now that you’ve had practice showing what the expert words mean by pointing to pictures, let’s use “super-sentences” to talk about some of the words. Super-sentences help show what we know about expert words. Super-sentences use lots of words to explain the whole idea (or big idea) of what we know, not just part (or a little) of what we know.
  • Tell me a type of animal that is a reptile. Remember, a reptile is an animal that has a backbone (spine), lungs, scales on its body, is cold-blooded, and hatches from an egg. You can start out your super-sentence by saying “I know that a ________ is a reptile because. . .”
  • My turn,“I know that a crocodile is a reptile because it is cold-blooded, has a scaly skin, and it hatches from eggs.”
  • Your turn,“I know that a ______ is a reptile because it. . .” You can talk about crocodiles or another type of reptile.

(Santoro, Chard, & Williams, 2007)

more super sentences
More Super Sentences
  • Use a super-sentence to tell me why a mother crocodile might want to keep her babies in a nursery. Remember, nursery means a place where young animals stay together. You can start out your super-sentence by saying “The mother crocodile keeps her babies in a nursery because. . .”
  • My turn,“The mother crocodile keeps her babies in a nursery because she can protect them and keep them safe.”
  • Your turn, “The mother crocodile keeps her babies in a nursery because. . .”

(Santoro, Chard, & Williams, 2007)

video kwl with language expansion
VideoKWL with Language Expansion
  • How does the teacher use language expansion during the KWL review?
recognize and repeat
Recognize and Repeat
  • Recognize when students have contributed to a discussion by repeating or rephrasing.
    • T: Brian noticed that the mother in the story was angry.
try it3
Try It
  • Recognize with rephrase or repeat
    • S: I think reptiles have clear eyelids to help protect their eyes.
    • T: ?
    • S: Fancy Nancy likes using fancy words.
    • T: ?
wait time
Wait Time
  • Give sufficient wait time for students to think and respond.
    • Be Patient!
  • Wait about 4 seconds after you ask a question.
  • If you do not get an answer, be prepared to ask a question that prompts a response.
    • T: Did the boys leave to go the movies or did the boys arrive late at the movies?
video small group instruction
VideoSmall Group Instruction
  • Examples
    • Students Answer Correctly
    • Students Answer Incorrectly
    • Students Provide No Response
  • Talk Routine Practice
  • When would you use the following talk routines? Why does the routine support student comprehension?
    • Follow-up
    • Elaborate
    • Expand
    • Recognize and Repeat
    • Wait Time
  • Focus on functional, high-frequency words
    • backbone, lungs, protect
  • Look for words that sound “fun”
  • Model and discuss how words work
    • Compound words: toothbrush, toothache, suitcase
  • Use modeling and repetition to present and practice words
  • Use pictures
modeling and practice with repetition
Modeling and Practice with Repetition
  • “A mammal has a backbone. What does a mammal have?”
  • Start student answers: “You can start your answer with. . .”
  • Model retells with clear, complete sentences.
  • Practice sentence expansion and talking in complete sentences
    • Sentences don’t have to be too long, just clear and direct.
start read aloud time with quick reviews
Start Read Aloud Time with Quick Reviews
  • Repeat and practice vocabulary words
  • Review academic language
    • A main character is. . .
    • What happened first means. . .
during reading strategies
During Reading Strategies
  • Focus on the language of the text. For example, during the second or third reading, show the pictures after each page is read.
    • Why? Not seeing the pictures makes student listen.
  • Emphasize vocabulary during “text-to-self” connections (e.g., tooth, toothache). Shared stories generate language.
  • Use the text to find “what we learned.”
    • Students can point to words and pictures in text.
a couple big ideas
A Couple “Big Ideas”
  • Importance of expository text
  • Don’t oversimplify
    • Don’t modify wording or reduce the complexity of the language. . .if needed, reduce the content.
rules and expectations
Rules and Expectations
  • Specify rules and expectations
    • Keep the rules to a minimum and order them according to their importance
    • Design rules that are explicit
    • Design rules that define positive expectations
    • Keep the wording of the rules simple
    • Use different rules for different situations
    • Post the rules in a prominent position
    • Teach the rules and review them
rules and expectations1
Rules and Expectations
  • Use a “pre-unit’ to teach read aloud routines
  • Present and reinforce rules for how students are to behave during instruction at the beginning of the session
  • Preteach requirements for each task (e.g, model behavior and how to respond)
    • Provide examples. Ask students to provide examples.
positive reinforcement
Positive Reinforcement
  • Provide specific praise
    • Provide students with a positive statement and feedback about appropriate conduct
      • “Juan, thank you for waiting until Samantha finished talking before you started your retell.”
encourage academic success
Encourage Academic Success
  • Model
  • Define concepts
  • Check for student understanding
  • Guide students during practice
  • Monitor and adjust instruction (individualize instruction for students in your group!)
  • Provide advance organizers
  • Minimize “down time”
  • Keep an engaging lesson pace. . .
promoting student engagement and talk
Promoting StudentEngagement and Talk
  • Group Responses

Thumbs up, Thumbs down

Everyone, think to yourself …

  • Follow-up ResponsesAgree?/Disagree? Why?

Who has a different idea?

  • Book Club Partners

Take 30 seconds and tell your partner

Turn to your neighbor and tell. . .

structure ample review and practice
Structure Ample Review and Practice
  • After students have learned individual strategies, teachers should have them apply strategies to a wide range of texts. For example, once students have learned how to retell simple stories, engage them at retelling more sophisticated selections as well as informational books. By providing ample review, students will learn to independently determine how, when, and why to use retell.

Review needs to be sufficient, distributed across time, cumulative, and varied

extension activities
Extension Activities
  • Extension activities for vocabulary words
  • Re-Reading the text a 2nd or 3rd time
  • Reading unread parts of the information text
  • Web-based activities and information seeking
  • Writing using retell or summary sheets
  • Compare and Contrast across texts
  • Thematic connections, other book recommendations, activities, etc.
  • Any other ideas?
video making connections
VideoMaking Connections
  • Snake Skin!
  • Snow and Tell!: Your Ideas
school home connection
School-Home Connection
  • Send student story and information retell/summary sheets home
  • Ask students to retell or summarize a story or talk about an information book with a family member
  • Ask students to find out one new fact about a particular topic (main idea)
  • Ask parents to share a fact about a particular comprehension theme or topic
  • Any other ideas?
concluding discussion
Concluding Discussion
  • Think thematically and pair information and narrative books.
  • Plan read alouds more strategically.
    • How will you use a repeated reading model? How can you read books differently for different comprehension purposes?
    • What text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world links will you use?
    • What comprehension frameworks will you use?
      • How will these frameworks be used before, during, and after (retells!) reading?
    • What vocabulary words will you select?
      • What vocabulary routines will you use? How will you use questions, reasons, and examples?
    • How will you expand discourse and facilitate talk during read alouds?
      • What ways can you increase your use of partner talk?
making the most of read aloud time
Making the Most of Read Aloud Time
  • Creating rich text-based discourse
  • Using text-structure as the anchor or framework for discussion
  • Asking varied levels of questions
  • Increasing student talk by teaching students how to ask questions and using partner talk opportunities
  • Using elaboration, expansion, and follow-up

Complex Cognitive Process


Intentional Interaction Between Reader and Text

Highly Purposeful

Lana Edwards Santoro, Ph.D.

(703) 971-0310 /office