Make Reading Count: Effective Strategies
for Teaching Comprehension
Isabel Beck, Nanci Bell, and Sharon Walpole discuss the essential components for developing good reading comprehension skills in young children.
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We've all had the experience of reading something — an IRS form, a New Yorker cartoon — and not having a clue what it means. There's more to reading than recognizing words. We need to grasp the meaning behind what we read in order for reading to be of any use. For some young readers, good decoding skills and a deep vocabulary lead to understanding. But a lot of kids need explicit instruction in how to decipher the meaning of what they read. This webcast discusses the essential components for developing good reading comprehension skills in young children, identifies some of the potential stumbling blocks, and offers research-based comprehension strategies teachers can use in the classroom to teach all children to become better readers.
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Isabel Beck is a professor of education and senior scientist at the University of Pittsburgh. She is an award-winning researcher who has done extensive work on decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension. She has published more than 100 articles and several books and is an author of the educational bestseller Bringing Words to Life.
Nanci Bell is director and CEO of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes. Nanci has a background in the field of reading, with a Masters in Education from Cal Poly and course work at Harvard. She also has extensive experience in the clinical treatment of language and literacy disorders. She is the creator of the acclaimed program, Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking, which aims to stimulate gestalt imagery in order to aid in language comprehension and analytical thinking. She is also the author of Seeing Stars: Symbol Imagery for Phonemic Awareness, Sight Words & Spelling.
Sharon Walpole is assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware. She teaches courses in literacy education, with research interests that include the design, implementation, and evaluation of schoolwide reading programs. Her work has included collaboration with literacy coaches across the country as part of the Reading Excellence Act and Reading First reforms and research for the Center for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement.
Delia Pompa is the moderator of this webcast. She is the Vice President of the Center for Community Educational Excellence, at the National Council of La Raza.
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- After listening to the panelists, discuss the things you are already doing in your classroom that reflect evidence-based practices for teaching comprehension. What concepts and strategies discussed were new to you?
- Is there a school wide vision of comprehension instruction where you teach? If so, talk about how the expectations of students evolve across the years. If there is no school wide vision, discuss what steps could be taken to develop a school wide plan that includes a shared vocabulary.
- As an educator, have you experienced the fourth grade slump or something similar? If so, describe what that was like and how you handled it. Would you do anything differently now?
- Discuss what you learned about Dr. Beck's approach to teaching vocabulary. Talk about ways you could incorporate some of her ideas into your classroom.
- How might you be able to implement some of Ms. Bell's visual imagery techniques into the work you do?
The Reading Rockets Professional Development Webcast Series is a production of WETA. The Reading Rockets project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
This program was produced by WETA/Reading Rockets, which is solely responsible for its content. The views expressed in the program are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of WETA/Reading Rockets, our funders, or our partners.
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