Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Check for Understanding-10 Reasons Why Kids Don't Do It!
According to the National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC), "Reading is an activity with a purpose." Understanding the author's purpose for writing a selection helps the reader adjust his reading rate to focus on comprehension. To discuss author's purpose for writing we use PIE (persuade, inform, entertain). Understanding the purpose seems easy, but when it comes to understanding the main idea it's often a different story.
Last year I polled my students to see exactly WHY they read WITHOUT summarizing, which we call, Checking for Understanding....here are the results (in no particular order)
1. To be the first one done
2. Forget to do it
3. It's too much work
4. Takes too long
5. Don't feel like it
6. Don't think it's important
7. Just want to get the reading done
8. Story is boring
9. Don't like to read
10. Just to get it done
What to do about it? Since I compiled that data I felt I needed to do something with it. Ultimately, I needed to figure out a way that was sure to help my students understand the importance of reading for meaning, right? So this past summer I did some reading. which led me to the discovery of the Daily5 and CAFE.
This year I decided to try the Daily5 and CAFE are during our literacy block. The Daily5 is the structure (Read to Self, Writing, Word Work, Listen to Reading & Read to Someone) that students follow during our literacy time, while CAFE is our focus (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Extend Vocabulary). "Check for Understanding" is the first strategy (& most important in my opinion) that is introduced. Students are taught to frequently 'Check for Understanding' by asking Who it's about, What's Happening & to predict what will happen next. Through modeling & practice, more modeling and practice students learn how to 'check for understanding'. To ensure students make connections which will aid their comprehension, we start by activating Prior Knowledge. Pair these with reading books that are appropriate for the student and true meaning is sure to transpire.
I decided to poll my students this year to see why they are not checking for understanding and the results are as follows:
1. Takes too long
2. Story is exciting I don't want to stop
3. Don't understand it
4. Can't find a connection
5. Takes away from my reading time
It's rather interesting that there were only 5 reasons from this group. I wondered if it had something to do with the Daily5 and CAFE. Is it just possible that more students are 'Checking for Understanding' on a regular basis?
I noticed a difference in the types of answers given by both groups of students. Do you see how the second group looks at reading differently than the first? Would love to hear what you think - please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.