Saturday, June 21, 2014

Reading Comprehension + Freebies!

I'm linking back up with Laura Graham, from "Where the Magic Happens", to dig deep into ourselves and our teaching practices.
 Teach and reinforce reading comprehension strategies.  Before staying home with my kids, I was a special education teacher.  I now tutor students with special needs.  Often many of the children that I work with have great difficulty with reading comprehension.  It is often a struggle. 
Many of the students that I work with have difficulty with phonemic awareness and phonics.  I need to spend a lot of time building up these skills, so that the children can use the skills to comprehend what they are reading.
One way that I keep up student excitement and minimize frustration is to mix the necessary skill practice with "Detective Time".  Sometimes, we get out the magnifying glass or a silly hat.  We always get into the detective persona.  We sometimes use detective focus wands to really examine the words and text.
Instead of always using a text, we scrutinize photos or watch a short movie clip to answer specific questions. 
Many of the students that I work with have great difficulty with inferences.  Both pictures and movies are great real life opportunities to pick apart and understand the plot, emotions, setting, characters, everything that you would work on in a text without physically reading the text.  It allows the students to really work on those comprehension skills, so that they can apply the same skills to text when their phonemic awareness and phonics skills allow them to read the text.  We also use Brain Pop.  Students enjoy watching their great informational videos and are able to "read" text on their own grade level.  It really helps them to keep practicing comprehension skills with on-grade level text, while their reading level skills may be below grade level. 
Here is a great video made by kids that explains why kids need to use the reading comprehension strategy of Questioning!

We also work on repetitive reading.  We often read the same book for many days in a row.  I also ask parents to read it with them each night.  This allows students to build up their fluency and really allows them to become familiar with the words in the book.  Once they are really reading the book fluently, we are able to really go back and pick apart the text.  I am doing a book study this summer on close reading.  I am reading "Close Reading in the Elementary School", by Diana and Betsy Sisson.  There is a wonderful book study group going on at A Year of Many Firsts and Little Minds at Work.  There is still time to join up and read along.  I am hoping to better understand and include close reading with my own children and students.
Some of my students are working on reading passages and answering questions about the passage.  I found this awesome video that I use with students to learn how to attack the paragraph.  It is a cute, but informational video to teach kids to attack a passage!

I recently came across an amazing find!  Miss Lak's Second Grade has an amazing selection of reading and writing strategies using beanie babies.  I contacted her and asked if I could share her amazing ideas with you.  She was generous enough to agree!  This is so exciting for me.  I have seen posters for the beanie baby strategies and have seen some used with beanie babies, but had never thought of attaching a copy of the actual strategy to the beanie baby.  Genius!
This picture is straight from Miss Lak's Second Grade.  This is her comprehension strategy teaching points.  She has a bulletin board with the written strategy and with the actual animal.  Since I tutor out of my home, I will not need a bulletin board, but love this for a classroom.
Miss Lak has bins set up around her room filled with the animals and their attached strategies.  Students are able to access these animals during independent reading or writing, or any reading practice time.
Here is my favorite.  Each animal has the strategy attached.
This gives those students that really need that hands-on learning experience the ability to hold and really interact with the strategies.  I think it is going to literally change how some of my students are able to grasp the comprehension strategies!  I am so excited and can't wait to start my search for these animals.
You can visit Miss Lak's Classroom to see all of her reading and writing strategies.  They are so well thought out and so useful for learners!
I will definitely continue to use photos and videos to build comprehension skills.  I love using things that will help my students improve their comprehension skills.  Here is a great video that helps students work on using inferences.  There are no spoken words, so students really need to pay close attention to the visuals.

I will continue to use fun games to build my students phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency.  I can't wait to incorporate Ms. Lak's beanie baby strategies and the actual animals into my reading comprehension instruction.  I really think this will bring the extra help that my students need.  I love how it goes beyond the anchor chart!
Some things that I really use to help students focus in on reading comprehension are my sets of "FIVES" poems and tons of extension activities.  You can pick up a free version of the original poems from each of the links below.
Each set comes with an original poem, an interactive book (I use Velcro), tons of extension activities for letters, words, numbers, and more, puppets, Pringle can manipulatives, and more.  I use these poems to help students really focus in on the content and to match the pictures to the text.  To see the puppies in action, click here.  To purchase, click here.
To see the sharks in action, click here.  To purchase, click here.
 To see the Bumblebees in action, click here.  To purchase, click here.
 Kids love the interactive books!
 Thanks so much for joining me for the "Digging into Next Year" Linky Party!  Thanks so much to Laura Graham for putting it together :)  Hop on over to Where the Magic Happens to see some more great ideas!
Follow on Bloglovin


  1. I have also found pictures to be invaluable for teaching comprehension. Thanks for sharing the videos!
    Deb @ Not very fancy

  2. You're welcome! I love pictures and videos without words. Both really make students look carefully for clues.
    Thanks for sharing! I love reading comments :)


Pin It