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Strategies and methods for developing comprehension in the reading of informational texts.

Karen Kuchta

on 17 December 2012

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Children's books to use with this strategy

How to Heal a Broken Wing
by Bob Graham (Candlewick, 2008)

When a young boy spots a hurt bird on a busy city street, he takes it home until it can return to the outdoors.

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
by Katie Milway, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes (Kids Can, 2008)

Inspired by actual events, a boy from Kenya provides a hope-filled lesson on micro-economics just right for young readers.

Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City
by Janet Schulman, illustrated by Meilo So (Random, 2008)

A red-tailed hawk takes up residence in a tony New York neighborhood and becomes the talk of the town. Based on actual events. Why use question–answer relationship?
It can improve students' reading comprehension.
It teaches students how to ask questions about their reading and where to find the answers to them.
It helps students to think about the text they are reading and beyond it, too.
It inspires them to think creatively and work cooperatively while challenging them to use higher-level thinking skills.

When to use:

Before reading

During reading

After reading

How to use:


With small groups

Whole class setting Importance Read Alouds Reciprocal Teaching Wrap Up Text Structures/Features "Comprehension of informational texts that include numerous text features and multiple text structures and that cover a wide variety of topics is more cognitively demanding than comprehension of fiction, thus creating an urgent need for well-defined instruction." (Block & Duffy, 2008) READ ALOUDS Reciproal teaching is a research-based instructional procedure that incorporates multiple strategy RECIPROCAL TEACHING Boosts students' comprehension skills

Develops students' familiarity with the sound of informational text, which aids in independent reading and writing of similar text.

Increases students' background knowledge in the content areas, as well as their vocabulary.

Provides answers to children’s questions about their world.

Exposes children to specialized vocabulary supplying
them with the language needed to discuss concepts they are learning.

Provides them with knowledge that is essential to strategically processing expository text and preparing them for future interactions with content area texts, as well as the texts they are most likely to read and write
as adults.

Serves as a reading catalyst for some children, children who are not motivated to read stories might be eager to explore the pages of a book about bugs, machines, or mummies. Benefits of Reading Aloud Informational Text: Students' need for informational literacy continues to escalate, approximately 50% of fourth-grade and 73% of eighth grade texts on standarized texts were from informational genre (Moss, 2005).

A national survey of kindergarten, first-grade, and
second-grade teachers nominated by reading supervisors as effective in promoting literacy revealed that only 6% of the material read in their classrooms was expository.

In addition, a national survey of kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers found that informational books ranked very low in terms of their use as read-alouds across all grade levels; few teachers even introduced informational books to their students. Availability and Use of Informational Texts in Classrooms In a study of the availability and use of informational texts in second-, third-, and fourth-grade classrooms, the total and average number of books and magazines that were available at each grade level classroom library was 1,493, 797, and 1,661, respectfully.

* 70.9% of all print materials are narrative,
14.0% were informational, 6.2% were narrative-informational, and 8.9% were other undefinable text.
**In second grade: 66.9% were narrative, and 14.6% informational.
***In third grade, 75.1% were narrative and 13.1% were informational.
****And in fourth grade, 72.3% were narrative, and 13.8% were informational. Case Study on the Availability of Informational Texts in Classrooms * Classroom teachers should introduce children to multiple text genres in the primary grades.

* Expanding children's access to informational text in early elementary grades, by read alouds, on-line articles and website exposure, such as Scholastic News, and book choices or suggestions for parents.

*Expanding classroom libraries to include more informational texts that appeal to girls as well as boys. Implications for Practice This video describes the activities that should take place on day 1 of a four day extended nonfiction read-aloud. Predicting
Summarizing When a teacher actively uses reciprocal teaching in most readings required of students, reading levels increase one to two grade levels in three to six months (Oczkus, 2005, Sporer, Brunstein, & Kieschke, 2009)

Struggling and disenchanted readers engage in reading (Goodman, 2005)

An increase in student confidence and success in their understanding and use of strategies when reading informational text (Hashey & Connors, 2003).

Improvement in reading comprehension on standardized tests with medium and high students showing the greatest gains (Hashey & Connors, 2003). Research supporting Reciprocal Teaching Pilonieta and Medina (2009) used reciprocal teaching with a first grade class to improve reading comprehension with informational text using the reading basal, content area textbooks, and trade books.

Students learned the different aspects of reciprocal teaching in five phases moving from whole group instruction to groups with the teacher and finally independent groups led by student leaders.

Students were able to learn the strategies and apply them to new content and texts.

The procedural knowledge of the strategy moved onto the second grade! Includes
Declarative Understanding
Procdeural Understanding QAR validated by practice and research Meyers (2005) adapted reciprocal teaching for a kindergarten classroom.

Students learned the four components whole group and practiced using them through the use of puppets. Conditional Understanding Princess Storyteller
Clara Clarifier
Quincy Questioner
The Wizard Mental Modeling
also known as
Think-Aloud Question-Answer Relationships is a metacognitive understanding The central idea of the core is that of reading widely, reading much more informational text and reading more complex text. The core agrees with the NAEP(Nat'l Assess of Educational Progress) that there need to be a balance between the reading of literature and the reading of informational text. The reading of informational text helps all students develop a deeper understanding of increasingly complex text. Teacher-librarians are an important resource for the classroom teacher. He/She can help in selecting a wide-range of passages in whole literature, original documents, essays, or treatises by great writers. Where text features is a road map to the text, text structures is the vehicle toward higher comprehension. Why focus on expository text?
"33% of 4th grade students examined could not read at the basic level required to understand what they read." (Nat'l Goals Panel, '99).
"70 to 80% of standardized reading test content is expository." (Moss, '04).
"The literacy demands of today's technological society require that students be able to read and write not only in the print world but also in the digital world." (Schumar-Dibler, '03). Why teach text structures?

Teaching text structures as a comprehension strategy has over 30 years of research supporting its effective use.
Students need to know how expository text is structured.
Students must be taught how to pay attention to text organization and structure.
Text structure awareness aids in comprehension. Research suggests explicitly teaching text structures individually.
One text structure is not necessarily transferable to another.
Authors of informational texts use signal words helping identify the text structure. Why aren't more informational texts used as read alouds? First, teachers and parents who may otherwise
appreciate the value of informational texts may not consider them enjoyable read-alouds and thus make other read-aloud selections.

Second, some teachers and parents simply may be unfamiliar with the growing body of high-quality informational
trade books targeted to a young audience. http://www.goodreads.com/genres/childrens-informational-books



http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/swyar/browse.asp Resources Text Structures
Are an organizational pattern authors of nonfiction text use in their writing.
Each structure has a specific purpose. Authors use structures that best fit their needs References QAR Building Comprehension with Informational Text

15:00 Introduction: Importance of Teaching Comprehension Strategies with Informational Text
10:00 Text Structures
20:00 Breakout
10:00 Recap
10:00 Read Alouds
20:00 Breakout
10:00 Recap
15:00 Break
10:00 Reciprocal Teaching
20:00 Breakout
10:00 Recap
10:00 QAR: Question Answer Relationships
20:00 Breakout
10:00 Recap
30:00 Grade Level Breakout
10:00 Wrap up/Feedback/Raffle BREAK:
Please return in 15
minutes. Snacks available- Enjoy! Final Break Out Session Raffle
Feedback There are 5 Common Types of Text Structure
1. Description
2. Sequence
3. Problem and Solution
4. Cause and Effect
5. Compare and Contrast viasecondgradestyle.blogspot.com According to Fountas and Pinnell, there are five broad categories of text features found in informational texts:
1. Text divisions
2. Organizational tools and sources of information
3. Graphics
4. Font size or formatting style
5. Layout Akhondi, M., Malayeri, F. A. and Samad, A. A. (2011). "How to Teach Expository Text Structure to Facilitate Comprehension". Reading Rockets.org. http://www.readingrockets.org/article/52251/

Austin Independent School District. "Text Structures: features and Organization"www.austinschools.org/.../LA_res_TxtStruc_ORS_Module.pdf.

Baudoin, S., "Teaching Text Structures." Pearl River County School District. October 2009. ww.prc.k12.ms.us/docs/.../Teaching%20Text%20Structure.

Dymock, Susan," Teaching expository text structure awareness." The Reading Teacher; Oct 2005; 59, 2, pg 177.; ProQuest Education Journals.

E Reading Worksheets.com., "Text Structures." http://www.ereadingworksheets.com/text-structure/

Erica. "RA 2b Extended Nonfiction Day 2." You Tube.
Grisham, D.L., Smetana, L., Wilson, N.S. (2009)." Investigating Content Area Teachers’ Understanding of a Content Literacy Framework: Yearlong Professional Development Initiative." Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literac. 52(8). doi:10-1598/JAAL.52

Hashey, J. & Connors, D. (2003). Learn from our journey: Reciprocal teaching action research. The Reading Teacher, 57(3), 224-232.

Hryniuk-Adamov, Carol. "Expository text structure: Teaching and learning strategies." Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. 52. 2 (Oct 2008): 178-180.

Hanson S., Padua, J., (2011). "Text Structures." Instructional Strategies Series. http://www.prel.org/media/176019/tf_eis_v_rev1_lo_res.pdf

Jeong, J., Gaffney, J.S., and Choi, J. (2010). "Availability and Use of Informational Texts in Second-, Third-, and Fourth Grade Classrooms." Research in the Teaching of English, 44, (4), 435-456.

Journal of Literacy Research, 38, (1), 37-51. "Classroom Strategy: Text Structure." Text Structure. AdLit.org, 2012. Web. 14 Oct. 2012. http://www.adlit.org/strategies/23336/?theme=print>.

Kraemer, L., MCCabe, P., and Sinatra, R. (2012). "The Effects of Read-Alouds of Expository Text on First Graders’ Listening, Comprehension and Book Choice" Literacy Research Instruction, 51, (2), 165.

Meyer, Bonnie J.f., and Melissa N. Ray. "Structure Strategy Interventions: Increasing Reading Compehension of Expository Text." International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education 4.1 (2011): 127-52. Web.

Meyers, P.A. (2005). The princess storyteller, clara clarifier, quincy questioner and the wizard: Reciprocal teaching adapted for kindergarten students. The Reading Teacher, 59(4), 314-324.

Moss, Barbara. "Teaching Expository Text Structures through Information Trade Book Retellings." The Reading Teacher 57.8 (2004): 710-18.

Norman, R.R. (2010). "Picture This: Processes Prompted by Graphics in Informational Text." Literacy Teaching and Learning, Volume 14, Numbers 1 & 2.

Orcutt, K., "20 Strategies to Teach Text Structure." http://usd262.com/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/3550/File/Curriculum/Literacy/Comprehension/Textstructure_resources.pdf

Piccolo, Jo A., Reading Teacher 40. 9 (May 1987): 838-847.

Pilonieta, P. & Medina, A.L. (2009). Reciprocal teaching for the primary grades: "We can do it, too!" The Reading Teacher, 63(2), 120-129.

Reading Teacher, "Structure to Facilitate Reading Comprehension." 64: 368–372. doi: 10.1598/RT.64.5.9

Wilkins, Sheri Ann, "Teaching expository text strategies to improve reading comprehension in low readers." ProQuest Information & Learning, 2007. AAI3270462

Yopp, R.H, and Yopp, H.K. (2006). Informational Texts as Read-Alouds at School and Home. Text Features...
prepare students for what they are reading through headings and sub- headings.
alert the reader to key vocabulary with bold words.
provide additional information through text boxes.
include images and graphics to help explain information in the text such as illustrations, photos, charts and graphs. Using the visual features of the text creates opportunities for
teachers to build background knowledge for students prior to
reading the main text body (Kelley & Clausen-Grace, 2010). Teaching text features is a two-step process.
The first step is to explain what text features are.
The second step is to show students how to use text features as a strategy through explicit teaching.

(Adapted from Instructional Strategies Series "text Structures" by Hanson & Padua 2011). Let's test our text structure knowledge...
How to Teach Text Structure
Show examples of paragraphs that correspond to each text structure.
Make an outline of the text to find how the text is structured.
Examine topic sentences that clue the reader to a specific structure. Look for the signal words that are associated with each text structure.
Highlight all the signal words in the text. Your Turn...
20 minute Breakout Session

Objective: Identify text structure and complete the appropriate graphic organizer.

Remove your materials from the Manila Envelope.
Read a passage and identify its text structure.
Complete the graphic organizer for the text structure.
Take turns describing your text structure with the table group.
Elect a group member to discuss the text structures and how you might use them in your classroom. Kristi Orcutt, Reading and Writing Consultant, ESSSDACK.org Kristi Orcutt, Reading and Writing Consultant, ESSSDACK.org Kristi Orcutt, Reading and Writing Consultant, ESSSDACK.org Kristi Orcutt, Reading and Writing Consultant, ESSSDACK.org Kristi Orcutt, Reading and Writing Consultant, ESSSDACK.org Meet with your grade level partners
Discuss how you will implement these four strategies when teaching informational text in your classroom.
Be prepared to share! Raffle

Thank you! www.prel.org/media/176019/tf_eis_v_rev1_lo_res.pdf www.prel.org/media/176019/tf_eis_v_rev1_lo_res.pdf Adapted from: Baudoin, S., "Teaching Text Structures." Pearl River County School District. How to use question–answer relationship
1.Explain to students that there are four types of questions they will encounter. Define each type of question and give an example.

Four types of questions are examined in the QAR:
Right There Questions: Literal questions whose answers can be found in the text. Often the words used in the question are the same words found in the text.
Think and Search Questions: Answers are gathered from several parts of the text and put together to make meaning.
Author and You: These questions are based on information provided in the text but the student is required to relate it to their own experience. Although the answer does not lie directly in the text, the student must have read it in order to answer the question.
On My Own: These questions do not require the student to have read the passage but he/she must use their background or prior knowledge to answer the question.

2.Read a short passage aloud to your students.
3.Have predetermined questions you will ask after you stop reading. When you have finished reading, read the questions aloud to students and model how you decide which type of question you have been asked to answer.
4.Show students how find information to answer the question (i.e., in the text, from your own experiences, etc.). Differentiated instruction

for second language learners, students of varying reading skill, and younger learners
Have students work together to form questions about the text, find the answers and share with the whole class.
Ask students to write down questions and answers. Mesmer, H.A.E., & Hutchins, E.J. (2002). Using QARs with charts and graphs. The Reading Teacher, 56(1), 21–27. Predicting Not simply for the beginning, but is an ongoing process of confirming, revising, and understanding. Questioning Engages students, challenges them to think at deeper and higher levels, and checks their comprehension (Hashey & Connors, 2003).

Teachers ask the majority of questions in a classroom whereas students ask less than 5% of the questions in both elementary and secondary classrooms (Walsh & Sattes, 1991). Questioning will work to reverse this trend. The Question Continuum /____________/___________/__________/
Skinny Fat
questions questions Skinny questions ask for "yes" or "no" answers, or other short answers based on the text. They are the "right there" questions for which there is a clear right or wrong answer (Raphael, 1986). Skinny questions might start with Who, What, Where, or List.

Fat questions are open-ended and ask for more complete and thoughtful answers, which begin with the text but will expand beyond it. They may have more than one answer. They are the "on your own" questions that take thinking beyond the text for the reader to judge, evaluate, or analyze information in the text (Raphael, 1986). Fat questions might start with Predict or Why do you think...

Quesions that may fall in the middle of the continuum are considered the "think and search" (the answer is in the text, but it is difficult to find) and "author and me" (found in the text but requires more thought, inferencing) questions (Raphael, 1986). Clarifying Competent readers seek clarification when needed, but weaker ones often do not. Your students may have already been taught a variety of clarification strategies such as rereading, using context clues, visualizing, activating prior knowledge, or referring to reference materials. When introducing clarifying as a step in reciprocal teaching it is important to review these strategies and practice when to use each one. Activity: Lost in Literature Summarizing Summarizing is an effective strategy for comprehension because it requires students to focus on key points, not to restate everything.

As teachers we need to demonstrate and lead students to an understanding that summarizing challenges them to decide what is important and what isn't, requires them to identify the big idea, helps them better understand and remember what they read, and teaches a critical life skill (Cleveland et al., 2001).

The ability to summarize varies with age, younger students rely more on bulleted lists, oral summaries, and d Activity: Summary Vs. Retelling Breakout Session

Using the expository text in front of you:
1. Identify appropriate places to make predictions with students.
2. Create 2 "skinny questions", 2 "fat questions" and 2 that would fall in between.
3. Identify the best way to clarify with the text. (rereading, context clues, visualizing, referring to reference materials)
4. Create a summary for one section of the text. Primary Grades Can Utilize it Too! Kristi Oriutt, Reading and Writing Consultant, ESSSDACK.org Kristi Oriutt, Reading and Writing Consultant, ESSSDACK.org Break Out Session * Break out into grade level teams
* Using the informational text at your group:

1. Develop ideas on how to build background knowledge on
the topic.
2. Identify key vocabulary words that you would teach.
3. Discuss how and when you can use the text in your curriculum.
Full transcript