I found this chapter interesting and applicable to my job. At first, I was hesitant to read yet another chapter about reading comprehension strategies. This chapter paid off though. I was intrigued by the four “Dimensions of Comprehension.” The two that stuck out to me were the personal and social dimensions. I feel as though the personal dimension plays one of the largest roles in a classroom like mine. With students who cannot see the point of their education and have little care for their future, it’s hard to find ways to keep them engaged. As the book states, “Ignoring the personal dimension of adolescent learners when setting expectations for reading often leads to disappointment and frustration for both teachers and students” (48). I completely understand this statement.
Another strategy I liked was the language of process technique. I feel as though this is something I can do with my students. On some level, I feel like I already do it, but am not actively aware of it. Each bullet from making and checking predications to verbalizing points of confusion and demonstrating fix-up strategies can be easily executed in the classroom. My only concern is that these techniques will take immense amounts of repetition to begin to make an impact. Regardless, the idea of a “process statement” is genius – it forces them to think about the content statement. My students struggle with this all the time (I say struggle with some hesitation because I feel as though some are just apathetic or lazy). Many of my students are great at sounding out consonant and vowel sounds but have no idea what the sentence or passage is actually saying.
I’m a fan of these process guides that are discussed on page 60. I feel that these would work great with my students, especially in Latin. We spend a lot of time on workbook problems which are directly answered by passages in the book. Many of my students struggle with these even though I tell them over and over to use their book as a resource. Today was the first day I projected the questions on the board and walked them through how to find the answers in the book. I’m hoping that this will help them on future workbook assignments. We will definitely spend more time practicing this though. My only hesitation with the process guides is that puts a lot more of the work on the teacher. I know it’s only a technique to ease them into independent reading, but I share the same concerns that some of the teachers in the book revealed.
I also liked the idea of opinionaires because they force our students to have opinions about something! So many of them take the easy way out, but I like this technique. It’s another way to force them to think about a topic that hopefully we can discuss later. I do wonder, though, if my students would be capable of verbalizing their opinions. I can see them taking a side and then being unable to support it. that’s one of the reasons why I thought my classes weren’t quite ready for classroom discussions (which the book says are typical of high school classes). I feel that since our students are so far behind academically, that they haven’t quite reached this level of mature thinking yet. Who knows, though, it might be worth a try!