Dear Parents and Students,
Students of all ages find reading comprehension practice passages frustrating, confusing, and defeating.
As a teacher for over a decade, I witnessed the struggles students faced when presented with comprehension passages. As a high school teacher, I was entrusted with preparing students for both the FCAT and TAKS tests, helping them raise their scores, and graduate.
I began to notice that something was missing. Students were not taught how to identify the different types of questions in the state comprehension test ie. compare/contrast, fact or opinion, character development, making inferences, etc.. They were being expected to just know what they were being asked and therefore how to answer the questions.
That is when I started to explicitly teach my students how to determine which type of question (Main Idea, Fact From the Story, Compare/Contrast, Fact or Opinion, Author’s Purpose, Making Inferences, Sequencing Events, Character Development, Cause/Effect, Problem/Solution, Vocabulary Development) was being asked.
That is when true progress began. I saw light bulbs come on. I saw self-esteem grow, I saw grades improve in all subject areas. I saw my students begin to feel smart. I saw them start to enjoy reading. And as an added bonus, the state test scores reflected their new knowledge.
Although this may all sound like common sense, the schools have not yet begun to incorporate this explicit teaching.
Mindy Bartlett Squillace, M.Ed.
Contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org