|Classroom Environment||Lesson Structure||Assessment||Sample Comprehension Lessons|
A comprehension lesson begins with a “Connect and Engage” segment to prepare children to be engaged in and successful with the lesson. We focus the children’s attention and thinking and help them activate what they already know that is relevant to the lesson. The teacher introduces:
- the text to be used in the interactive read-aloud;
- the strategic thinking she will demonstrate for students to try.
During some Connect and Engage segments, the teacher also reviews or has the class practice routines that support the community of learners essential to children’s success. For example, in the Monitor Sample Lesson you will see kindergarten teacher Irby DuBose ask two children to demonstrate how they turn and talk in a “fishbowl”, while the other students watch and debrief what they observed.
We keep this introductory segment of the lesson as concise as possible. We want to pique children’s interest, and provide explicit instruction about how we will be thinking about the text, but we also want to leave the real work to be done as the text is read. When working with classes that are predominantly English Language Learners, we usually spend more time in Connect and Engage to teach English words relating to both the text and the strategy.
Turn and Talk is an essential element in every phase of an interactive read-aloud. (If you have not already done so, refer to Part 6, Peer Interactions, in the Classroom Environment module to explore the importance of Turn and Talk and tips for implementation.) Teachers often engage students in the comprehension lesson by having them turn and talk during Connect and Engage about their relevant background knowledge of the text or strategy. This turn and talk also gives teachers their first opportunity in the lesson to assess children’s background knowledge on the topic and/or strategy. The teacher learns about vocabulary or concepts that students may already know or will need to know in the course of the lesson. Teachers also acknowledge student expertise by listening to their comments and sharing some of their relevant knowledge with the rest of the class.