Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reading Comprehension Boosters

Reading comprehension is a big focus at my house, but maybe not in the way you'd define reading comprehension. Individuals on the autism spectrum often struggle with comprehension. I am learning that children need lots of experiences in their "experience banks", where they are comprehending meaning between themselves and others, in order to grow comprehension skills, and we have concentrated more on the "between people" experiences as a foundation to reading.

As my daughter and I focus on shared reading and more guided reading, I am trying to build comprehension a little at a time. (It shoots her anxiety to the sky.) One of my challenges is knowing when to STOP. I always have the desire to push for a little more (which contributes to the anxiety and I try very hard to stop before the anxiety rises).

Thomas G. Gunning and Jossey-Bass Teacher have given me a book of 100 Lessons for Building Higher-Level Literacy: Reading Comprehsion Boosters. The lessons are short, well-planned with a clear stopping point (which I really, really need), and target students working in grades 3-5. This one arrived at my house at a great time. ;)

Click on the link or the photo of the book cover to see the table of contents and sample chapter.

The back cover of the book explains what's inside: "Lessons include easily reproduced worksheets grouped within six thematic units. Each unit builds background knowledge and focuses on an important aspect of comprension: 1) comprehending main ideas and details and visualizing; 2) summarizing; 3) inferring, predicting, and concluding; 4) understanding facts versus opinions; 5) comparing and contrasting; and 6) review and application. These units gradually build in level of challenge so that students gain proficiency and confidence as they move along." Here's one of my favorite parts, "Each unit includes a teacher section that offers extensive guidance on how to introduce the lessons to the students and support them in their develop;ment of essential reading and responding skills."

Priced at $29.95, Reading Comprehsion Boosters is one lesson/activity after another, based upon themes that are interesting and fun to children. Gunning provides charts and other visuals and graphics to scaffold and organize the answers to questions in a way that provides useful and concrete strategies for students (and for homeschool teachers like me as I continue to better learn how to teach my own child who happens to have unique learning needs and challenges).

The book is constructed so that it lies flat to make photocopying easy for multiple students. Sometimes, I make two copies so that I have one and my daughter has a copy and we work through a lesson together, and I plan to use that strategy with lessons from this book as well. Thumbs up from me.

Jossey-Bass Teacher sent me a complimentary copy of Reading Comprehension Boosters, 100 Lessons for Building Higher-Level Literacy by Thomas G Gunning to review. I receive no other compensation and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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