Tuesday, June 14, 2011

10 Principles for assisting reading - 3a. Modelling & Predicting


Children often learn by watching and listening to others, particularly people with whom they have a  good relationship. Guided reading sessions are no exception, in fact, this aspect is a vital element that begins in the pre-reading phase. In the last blog post it was emphasised that talking about the content of the book and related experiences was just as important as the reading itself.

This initial phase is often referred to as the book orientation phase because it entails becoming acquainted with the content and language of the book. Book language is different to spoken language and the type of language used will differ from book to book. During this initial phase the person guiding the reading (parent, older sibling, other) should read the book aloud to the child so that the child can become familiar to the language of the book and become acquainted with the content. The reading guide should also take the opportunity to model the sorts of reading processes that the reader should adopt. For example, the reading guide should model the following reading comprehension thinking processes:
  1. sampling,
  2. predicting, and
  3. confirming or correcting.
In practical terms this will require the reading guide to browse through the book with the child to demonstrate how predictions about story content can be made by sampling. This sampling process begins when the reader looks for clues in the illustrations and the text to show what the story or passage might be about. The reading guide should verbalise what they are thinking, this is often referred to as 'thinking-aloud'. For example, while looking at the pictures and discussing them the reading guide should think-aloud by saying something like, "It looks like ...  I wonder what will happen next?"

"This is very similar to what happened to me once when... So I think that ... might happen next. let's turn the page and find out."

After turning the page the reading guide then says, "Yes, my prediction was right, ... did happen but it was slightly different to what I expected. I thought that... would happen as well, but instead ... happened. Now I know what to expect over the next page. Let's turn over to find out if I am right."

N. B. Predictions are usually based on past experiences and so it is important for the reading guide to explicitly demonstrate that they are related to similar life situations that can be shared with the young or novice reader. The expectation is that the reader will eventually do this independently. Before this can happen the person assisting the reading will usually need to give prompts and gradually fade them out as the child becomes more confident and begins to take more responsibility.

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