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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Reflecting on student use of strategies

June 14, 2011

Teachers spend lots of time teaching strategies to students to aid with their reading comprehension. Our classroom strategy section is chock full of ideas for integrating strategies into content area lessons, and many of our strategies include video showing a real teacher using the strategy in a real setting.

One blog I read, Catching Readers Before They Fall, recently had a good post that contains six questions teachers should ask themselves if they notice that students are not using the strategies we've taught them to use.

Among the questions:

Are students in appropriate texts? My own recommendation is that material used when teaching strategies should be at the child's independent level (98% accuracy) or at the instructional level (90-98% accuracy). Teachers should avoid frustration level material (less than 90% accuracy) altogether, but especially when working on comprehension.

Other questions are designed to encourage teacher reflection on teaching behavior and student needs. Was my modeling explicit enough? Who needed this particular strategy? Who didn't? Did I provide enough guided practice?

The post elaborates on these questions, and provides a good framework for reflection.

As an aside, if you're not familiar with the article Catch Them Before They Fall, by Joe Torgesen, add it to your summer reading stack! It's an oldie but a goodie about the value of assessing and identifying kids at risk for reading failure. I've always assumed the blog name stemmed from that article.

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