Visiting instructional coach and reading specialist Linda Karamatic has referred numerous times to the work of Ellin Oliver Keene. In this Ed Leadership article, New Horizons in Comprehension, Keene takes us on a conferring journey with a young reader to demonstrate how we might move students beyond superficial responses and in doing so, teach them to deepen their own understanding.
“I really want to be an astronaut when I grow up. I know a lot about the space station.” Jacob looks up from his book, Eyewitness: Space Exploration (DK Children, 2004), … I have just taught a lesson in which I explored with students the concept of schema—relevant prior knowledge and experience that readers use to comprehend text more deeply. Now I’m conferring with students individually as they apply this comprehension strategy in their independent reading.
I’m not surprised by the rather superficial nature of Jacob’s response to my question about how the book he’s reading relates to his own life. Several years ago, I might have said, “Great connection, Jacob. Mark it on a sticky note and keep going!” Not any more. Instead, I ask him to give me a moment while I consider how to respond to him. I want to actually teach him something that will be valuable to him as a reader, and I’m going to take my time to consider the most effective approach.”
Read the entire piece, including specific reading comprehension strategies Keene recommends here.