|Classroom Environment||Lesson Structure||Assessment||Sample Comprehension Lessons|
A Sample Lesson is provided for each of the six basic comprehension strategies. While we need to teach children in the primary grades what these strategies are and how to use them, we don’t recommend that they be taught in isolation. The sample lessons will provide guidance in developing a repertoire of instructional practices that can be incorporated into meaningful units of study.
The introduction to each strategy discusses what the strategy is, why we teach children to use it, and ideas for lessons that teach various aspects of the strategy. We suggest reading and discussing the Introduction before viewing the video clips of the sample lesson. We also refer back to the Introduction in the Final Reflection after the lesson.
Most of the sample lessons represent practices that we want children to use over and over, such as noticing their new learning, monitoring their thinking, or separating important information from interesting details. We teach these practices many times, with different texts in different situations. The first time the lesson may be rather lengthy. But when children apply what they’ve learned over subsequent days as well as in combination with other strategies they know, we can teach short mini-lessons and send them off to work.
To build expertise in teaching strategic thinking to beginning readers, we need to notice and appreciate the small shifts in children’s behaviors that signal growth in becoming thinkers. We also need to learn to respond with teaching moves and language that encourage their development. The questions posed before each video clip are constructed to support this reflective teaching, as are the Facilitator Notes for leading Professional Learning Community discussions. A segment in each sample lesson also includes examples of the students’ work, and ideas for analyzing them. A transcript of each lesson is provided, to facilitate discussion.
We recommend beginning with the Monitoring strategy. It sets the stage for all of the strategies. The other sample lessons could be viewed in any order. They are set up according to how we might choose to initially teach them, since schema and questioning support inferring, and all of the other strategies support determining importance and synthesis.