Developing reading skills — страница 3

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basal-reader materials. In addition, some lessons have their beginnings in firsthand experiences. Working from a common experience, children dictate sentences that the teacher records; later they read what they have composed. The almost exclusive reliance on basal readers and experience charts for teaching reading skills has an unfortunate outcome. Because stories and poems predominate in basal reading books and because expository pieces, when included in these texts, often lack the main and subheads that characterize conceptual and relational content, young readers have little opportunity to develop an understanding of how expository prose is structured. Expressed in more technical terms, they have little opportunity to refine the schemata they hold in their minds as to how,

conceptual and relational content is organized on paper and thus to build the skills necessary to comprehend lengthy or complex passages. Even when children draft story charts together and they use these to build reading skills, the content young writers compose is typically stories, poems, and paragraph that describe personal experiences. This is equally true when elementary youngsters write independently; stress is on drafting stories, poems, and descriptions of firsthand experiences. Only infrequently do children compose on relational topics from science and social studies. As a result, students have little opportunity to develop their ability to organize expository content on paper. Yet this learning basic, for it relates to reading as well as to writing. In learning to

organize informational content for writing, students gain insight into how authors handle complex ideas on paper; in so doing, they are refining their schemata for comprehending this kind of content. This lack of attention to building schemata for interpreting and composing informational content seems to occur even though study in science and social studies is part of elementary programs and children read from content area texts as early as first grade. An analysis of teacher’s guides to science and social studies text hints at the reason for this lack. Few series suggest ways to encourage young learners to perceive the structure within which ideas are organized in a chapter, to gather data systematically based on their comprehension of that structure, and to organize points

gleaned into an original structure for writing. A basic strategy for introducing students to the structures through which informational content is expressed in written form is factstorming. Factstorming is the process in which students randomly call out phrases that come mind on a topic while scribes record these on chart paper or the chalkboard in the order given. To be productive, of course, factstorming must be based on a data-gathering activity. For example, students may view a film or filmstrip or listen to an informational passage shared orally by their teacher. They may read in several references on the topic. or they may collect data through a combination of approaches that are part of unit study. In any event, students must have informational background to bring to the

factstroming. The next category in the instructional sequence is categorization, or the systematic organization of facts “stromed”. This can be achieved in several ways, depending on the sophistication and previous experience of students with the process. One way is for the teacher to select an item of information laid out on the board and ask students to locate a second item that is in some way like first. Students tell how the two items are related, circle them. and locate other items that share the same relationship, circling them in the same manner. Having developed one cohesive category of facts in this way, students proceed to organize the remaining facts into other categories according to shared relationships, indicating related items by circling them with different

colored markers. Dittoed lists of terms and points “stromed” are helpful when students have had little experience categorizing. Youngsters factstorm one day, perhaps listening on a chart points recalled from an informational film viewed or from a series of paragraphs read. These points are reproduced on a ditto, so that each youngsters the next day has a copy and can circle related points on it with different colored crayond. Once students grouped related points into labeled categories, they can take the next step - drafting shorts paragraphs based on each of the categories. Again there are several ways of proceeding. With youngsters who have had little experience drafting informational paragraphs based on one main idea, a good introductory strategy is teacher-guided group