Melissa Filotas' Portfolio Page
Statement of Intent
The intention of this course, "Promoting Reading Comprehension in the Early Grades," is to offer primary and lower elementary teachers the opportunity to learn and practice new reading comprehension strategies. Participants will engage in an interactive, problem-based community. Conversations with elementary teachers have highlighted the need to provide more strategies aside from commonly known techniques and the ones utilized in textbooks.
Gathering Data on Teachers' Needs
Research indicates that reading comprehension strategies, including vocabulary development techniques, are a necessary component of any elementary reading program. Although many students can fluently read text, they often do not understand what they are reading. Therefore, they continue to need instruction that will support comprehension. Interestingly, "Pressley et al. (1998) found that students' comprehension was not enhanced by merely reading more text. If the students used even one of the strategies, for example summarizing, comprehension was improved. If students were given a host of strategies that they could apply at their discretion, comprehension was greatly improved" (cited in Boulware-Gooden, Carreker, Thornhill, & Joshi, 2007).
A survey, regarding reading comprehension strategies used by teachers, was administered to 16 (K-3) teachers in a Central Florida elementary school. The survey contained the following two questions which could be rated from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree": "I rely on one or two strategies to help students with reading comprehension," and "I would like to learn new strategies that could be employed to assist students with reading comprehension." Teachers also answered the following open-ended question: "What reading and vocabulary strategies do you currently use to help students improve their reading comprehension?" "Explain the strategies in detail or draw a diagram to illustrate the method used."
Fourteen of the 16 surveyed teachers indicated, through the words, "agree" or "strongly agree", that they relied on one or two reading comprehension strategies. All 16 teachers responded, through the words, "agree" or "strongly agree", that they wished to learn new reading comprehension strategies. Results, from the open-ended question indicated that all teachers relied on textbook activities, with 10 teachers noting strategies that were different from the textbook and used as supplements. No teacher used a strategy that is intended to be taught during this course.
Pressley, M., Wharton-McDonald, R., Mistretta-Hampston, J., & Echevarria, M. (1998). The nature of literacy instruction in ten grade-4/5 classrooms in upstate New York. In R. Boulware-Gooden, S. Carreker, A. Thornhill, & R. M. Joshi. (2007). Instruction of metacognitive strategies enhances reading comprehension and vocabulary achievement of third-grade students. The Reading Teacher, 61(1), 70-77. doi: 10.1598/RT.61.1.7
Types of Learners
The participants in this course will be primary and early elementary (K-3) teachers who have an intrinsic interest in learning additional reading comprehension strategies to implement into their classrooms. Experience will range from the novice level to veteran teachers who have taught from less than one year to 20 or more years.
This course can be completed individually, at the teacher's own pace, and on his/her own personal computer or any other computer, inside or outside of school settings. However, completing the course with a partner will provide better interaction and reflection. The strategies, presented in this course, will not become outdated. However, as new strategies are created and developed, they can be added to the current techniques included in this course.
Instructional Problem and Solution
Unit 1: Activating Prior Knowledge
- Prep (Pre-Reading Plan) Strategy
Unit 2: Reading Comprehension Strategy for Fiction/Narrative
- DR-TA (Directed Reading-Thinking Activity)
Unit 3: Reading Comprehension Strategy for Non-Fiction/Expository
- Anticipation Guide
Unit 4: Vocabulary
- Five Senses Simile Web
- Word Map
Unit 5: Integration/Implementation
- Reading Articles Featuring Comprehension Strategies
- Developing One or More Strategies for Classroom Use
- Teachers will be able to understand the need for reading comprehension strategies.
- Teachers will be able to implement reading comprehension strategies in their classrooms.
In this course, participants will learn narrative and expository reading strategies that will help their elementary students improve reading comprehension.
- The participant will demonstrate the use of various strategies to improve reading comprehension in elementary children.
- The participant will choose to use reading strategies in their classroom because of their benefits in improving reading comprehension in elementary students.
- Using the provided narrative elementary book, the participant will demonstrate the construction of a narrative Prep (Pre-Reading Plan) strategy diagram by creating one using Microsoft Word.
- Using the provided narrative elementary book and the pre-made narrative Prep strategy diagram, the participant will generate prior knowledge words by typing the words into the Prep strategy diagram.
- Using the provided elementary book, the participant will demonstrate the construction of a DR-TA (Directed Reading-Thinking Activity) chart for the narrative reading strategy by creating one using Microsoft Word.
- Using the provided elementary book and the pre-made DR-TA chart, the participant will generate predictions and follow-up answers by reviewing the book and typing them into the DR-TA chart.
- Using the provided elementary book, the participant will demonstrate the construction of an Anticipation Guide reading strategy for expository texts by creating one using Microsoft Word.
- Using the provided elementary book and the pre-made Anticipation Guide, the participant will generate expected questions by reviewing the book and typing the questions into the Anticipation Guide.
- The participant will demonstrate the construction of a Five Senses Simile Web by creating one using Microsoft Word.
- Using the provided vocabulary word from the provided elementary book, the participant will generate words, related to the target vocabulary word, that correspond with each of the five senses by typing the sense words into the Five Senses Simile Web.
- The participant will demonstrate the construction of a Word Map by creating one using Microsoft Word.
- Using the provided vocabulary word from the provided elementary book, the participant will generate a synonym, an antonym, an example, and a non-example of the targeted vocabulary word by typing these words/phrases into the Word Map.
- Using information from various articles, the participant will demonstrate the construction of reading strategies by developing and creating one or more for immediate classroom implementation.
- Using information from various articles and personal reflections, the participant will generate the benefits for using strategies before and during reading by reading articles and developing strategies for implementation into classrooms.
- The participant will choose reading strategies, evidenced by using them during reading classes with learners.
- The participant will demonstrate the ability to navigate Microsoft Word by making shapes, lines, and text boxes.
- The participant will demonstrate the ability to navigate an online Wiki course.
- The participant can identify narrative and expository texts.
- The participant is intrinsically motivated.
- The participant will desire to help their students improve reading comprehension.
- The participant will desire to learn new reading strategies.
- The participant will have an interest in implementing reading strategies in the classroom.
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