A Seminar on Reading Comprehension Instruction for Reading Plus

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Transcript A Seminar on Reading Comprehension Instruction for Reading Plus

Tasks that Teach: A Seminar
on Reading Comprehension
Instruction for Reading Plus
P. David Pearson
UC Berkeley
Goals for Today…
• Offer participants a model of reading
comprehension development and pedagogy.
– What is it?
– How do we nurture it?
• How do we teach it?
• How do we facilitate it?
– How do we assess it?
• This presentation complements Freddy
Hiebert’s “Texts that Teach” a few weeks ago.
A word about my relationship with
Reading Plus
• I am an advisor
• I try to “convince them on the wisdom of my
ideas” just like I try to convince EVERYONE
else on them.
• I will use some key examples from RP
materials to illustrate the more general points I
make about comprehension curriculum and
What is Reading Comprehension?
• A demonstration…
• I will unfold a very short story, line by line.
• Your job is to figure out “what’s going on” at
every juncture…
• A silent think aloud for you…
The End of Elegance
• Business had been slow since the latest rise in the
price of crude.
• Nobody seemed to want anything elegant
• Suddenly a well-dressed man burst through the
showroom door,
• and headed straight for the most expensive model
on the floor.
• John Ingham peered over the top of his hornrimmed glasses,
• over the the want ad section of the newspaper,
• adjusted his loose-fitting jacket to hide the frayed
sleeves of his shirt,
• and rose to meet the man whose rhinestone
stickpin and alligator boots (but were they real?)
seemed out of place amidst the dazzling array of
• Mercedes sedans.
• “I’ll take this one,” he said confidently, pointing to
most expensive model on the floor…
• “cash on the line!”
• Later, the paperwork complete, John muttered to
himself, “I’m glad I didn’t blow this one.”
• He added, “What does he know about elegance?
What does anyone know about elegance anymore?
• Then he smiled wryly as he returned to his
newfound pastime.
What can we learn from our
reading of this passage?
• Words in the text COMPEL us as readers to
invoke our knowledge to make sense of things.
• The more unfamiliar the ideas and words in the
text, the harder it is to make the link between
text and knowledge.
• Yet always seek the most plausible link to
knowledge that we can generate.
• Links to other parts of the text are equally
important to us
What can we learn?
• Our internal standard for rendering texts sensible is
– Does the meaning I assign to a word, phrase, or sentence
square with what I have read so far?
– Does the meaning I assign to a word, phrase, or sentence
square with what I know to be true about the world?
• Corresponds to Walter Kintch’s construction-integration
– Construct a Text Base
– Integrate the Text Base with Knowledge to create a
Situation Model (some call it a Mental Model) of the
meaning of the text…
– Change your Knowledge
Kintchian-derived model…
Knowledge Base
Text Base
Situation Model
Inside the head
Out in the
New and different
• Most important: A new model of the
comprehension process
– Text (what the author left on the page)
– Text base (the version a reader creates on a
faithful first reading)
– Knowledge (what the reader brings from prior
experience AND what she has AFTER reading).
– Model of meaning for a text
• Dubbed the Situation Model (mental model)
• A model that accounts for all the facts and resources
available in the current situation
What’s inside the Knowledge box?
• World knowledge (everyday stuff, including
social and cultural norms)
• Topical knowledge (e.g., dogs and canines)
• Disciplinary knowledge (e.g., how history
or astronomy or mathematics works)
What’s inside the knowledge box?
• Knowledge about Language
– Phonology
– Lexical and morphological
– Syntax
– Genre
– Pragmatics (how language works in the world):
Discourse, register, academic language, intention
– Orthography (how print relates to speech)
That’s what we know about
Comprehension…. But…
• How does that knowledge square with the new
sheriff in town is saying…
• The CCSS
• Is the theory of comprehension in the CCSS
consistent with Kintsch’s model?
• Absolutely!
• But the mapping is a little tricky…
Key Ideas and Details
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from
it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from
the text.
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the
key supporting details and ideas.
3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of
a text.
Craft and Structure
4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical,
connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning
or tone.
5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger
portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the
6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually
and quantitatively, as well as in words.*
8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of
the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build
knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
Common Core
• Standards 1-3: Key ideas and details
• Standards 4-6: Craft and structure
• Standards 7-9: Integration of knowledge and
Consistent with Cognitive Views
of Reading
Key Ideas and Details
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Craft and Structure
What the
the and
text Interpret
For those who want to see everything at once…
Pearson Kintsch
Text Base
Locate and
Key Ideas and Details
Situation Model
Interpret and
Integration of
Knowledge and Ideas
Put Knowledge
to Work
Critique and
Craft and Structure
So what about all of this close reading debate?
• Where does close reading come from?
• Do we really need to discourage students from
using their prior knowledge?
• Should all questions in our discussions be text
Publisher’s Guidelines:Stay close to the text
• “Materials make the text the focus of instruction by
avoiding features that distract from the text. Teachers’
guides or students’ editions of curriculum materials
should highlight the reading selections…Given the
focus of the Common Core State Standards,
publishers should be extremely sparing in offering
activities that are not text based.”
• Text-dependent questions do not require information
or evidence from outside the text or texts; they
establish what follows and what does not follow from
the text itself.” (page 6)
My concern
• We will operationally define text dependent as literal, factual
• Forgetting that LOTS of other questions/tasks are also textreliant
• Compare
– What were two reasons pioneers moved west?
– What does the author believe about the causes interpretive
of westward
expansion in the United States?
– How valid is the claim that author X writes from an ideology of
manifest destiny?
• Fundamental misunderstanding about reading theory:
– Every action—critical, inferential, or literal—requires the use of
prior knowledge to carry it out…
Close reading
• The Common Core State Standards place a high
priority on the close, sustained reading of complex
text, beginning with Reading Standard 1. Such
reading emphasizes the particular over the general
and strives to focus on what lies within the four
corners of the text.
My concern
• Fundamental misunderstanding of the role of prior
knowledge in comprehension.
• The text drags prior knowledge along even if you don’t
want it to.
– Schema Theory Tenet: Words INSTANTIATE schemata
• Business had been slow since the oil crisis…
– The text cries out for a schema to attach itself to.
– Ideas that don’t connect don’t last long enough to allow
learning (assimilation or accommodation) to occur
• They drop out of memory pretty fast
• In one eye and out the other!
• The best way to encourage learning that lasts is to connect to PK.
So what about Prior Knowledge
• Why has it taken a beating in the Publishers’ Criteria
• One thought: Too much Indulgence at the trough of
prior knowledge
– Too much Know, not enough Want to Learn and Learn
– Too much picture walk
– Too much story swapping about our experiences with
roadrunners before reading…
• Let’s right the wrongs
• Need a mid course correction not a pendulum swing
– Knowledge in proper perspective?
– Balanced view of knowledge?
– Knowledge in the service of understanding
But asking kids to hold their prior
• Is like
Asking dogs not to bark or
Leaves not to fall.
It’s in the nature of things
Dogs bark.
Leaves fall.
Readers use their prior knowledge to render
text sensible and figure out what to retain for
So what’s a body to do?
• Embrace the construct of close reading
– But make sure that it applies to several purposes for reading
• Reading to get the flow of ideas in the piece.
• Reading to enhance our knowledge base!!!!
• Reading to compare (with another text or body of experience or
• Reading to critique
– how good is the argument or the craft or
– what is his bias/slant/perspective)
– All of these approaches interrogate the text as an evidentiary
• Develop a set of routines to enact these purposes for close
So what about all of this close reading debate?
• Where does close reading come from?
– Publisher’s Criteria and New Criticism
• Do we really need to discourage students from using
their prior knowledge?
– No, but we need to stop indulging at the trough of prior
• Should all questions in our discussions be text
– All questions should be motivated by the text and rely on
textual evidence/support, but
– Balance of literal, interpretive, and critical tasks
How about the mapping of the
CCSS onto Reading Plus?
Mapping Reading Plus onto
Standard Description
Understand how ideas in the story are
linked. Getting the gist.
Understand how and why authors
organize text and use the words they do
to shape readers’ understanding.
Analyze, synthesize, and evaluate text.
CCSS College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards
for Reading
Key Ideas and Details
Craft and Structure
Integration of
Knowledge and Ideas
QT1: Working from Short term Memory
QT2: Excerpt provided
QT3: Two excerpts available
QT4: Integrating Text and Image: Image available but
not the text…
Thus the overall goal of RP See
• Provide students with a rich reading experience in
which they…
– Read increasingly complex texts, with increasing silent
reading efficiency, about topics that are worth learning
about in their own right
– Encounter vocabulary they can use to build and name
new knowledge
– Answer questions that stretch their comprehension
repertoire across the entire range of tasks required in
the CCSS
– With the ultimate goal of building knowledge that will
enhance future comprehension activities
What about Monitoring and Providing
Feedback about Comprehension
• The Critical Issue:
Grain Size:
• Finding a Place to Stand:
– Too Few Skills: No diagnostic infrastructure: hard to
help kids who need assistance
– Too Many Skills: A remedial quagmire: How do you
ever make your way out of the 39 subskills?
• Looking for a Goldilocks solution
• Our solution: Use the CCSS Anchor Standards
– Gives us 9 things to monitor and use to guide
Why this position
• Balances the tension between
– Getting down to the specific needs of students..
– Recognizing the truth about reading
comprehension subskills
• they have more in common with one another than the
long lists suggest.
The truth about subskills in reading
• Things that appear to be different from one
another actually are quite similar.
Categorizing Things or
Main Idea
Reasoning from the
stated to the unstated
• Drawing conclusions
• Drawing or making
• Detecting motives
• Predicting outcomes
• Cause and effect
The truth about subskills…
Empirical studies of this clustering…
Factor Analytic studies…
Begin with 10 subskills
Assess all 10.
Examine the interrelations among the scores
on all 10
The truth about subskills…
Empirical studies of this clustering…
Factor Analytic studies…
Begin with 10 subskills
Assess all 10.
Examine the interrelations among the scores
on all 10
The truth about subskills…
• Consistent findings from the factor analytic
• Start with 10 and end up with 3
• Common Pattern
– Word meaning factor
– Drawing inferences from content to PK
– Utilizing text structure or attending to authorial
moves to get to meaning.
• You need an infrastructure for teaching and
monitoring comprehension, but…
• You don’t need 30 or 40 but you need more than 2
or 3…
• The 9 from the Common Core seem about right,
especially if we can emphasize the 3 big clusters
– Main ideas and details
– Craft and structure
– Integration of knowledge and ideas
So what can we do in the name of
• What teachers do:
– Strategy Instruction
– Modeling and guided practice on the way to
independent practice…
• Plans for the future: Our goals are to create a virtual
Reading Coach to assist teachers in this all important
approach to improving student’s independent journey
through undertanding and learning from text
• Basic explicit instruction model:
All Teacher
Shared Responsibility: Moving Gradually from
Teacher to Student
All Student
Duke, Pearson, Strachan, & Billman, 2011
What does the any good comprehension program
look like?
• Basic approach:
Provide texts that are worth reading
Scaffold students into greater efficiency, especially silent reading
Do rich vocabulary activities, some before and many after reading
Use the full range of comprehension probes to ensure a full encounter with
close reading of all types (literal, inferential, and critical)
• Supplemental
– When the going is tough for a student, you provide extra scaffolding
– Coaching them on how to use strategies more effectively (use GRR=Gradual
Release of Responsibility model)
– Providing extra practice on specific standards that indicate the need for
• Assessment:
– Formative—checking comprehension every day along the way
– Stopping periodically for some sort of benchmark assessment to assess
Moving from a vicious to a
virtuous cycle in student learning
• Failure begets low motivation begets failure…
• Knowledge begets comprehension begets
– The more you know, the more you understand.
– The more you understand, the more you learn.
– The more you learn, the more you know.
– The more you know…
Everything I know about comprehension…
• Essential Elements of Fostering and Teaching
Reading Comprehension
• Nell K. Duke, P. David Pearson, Stephanie L.
Strachan,and Alison K. Billman
• What Research Has to Say About Reading
Instruction (4th ed.) edited by S. Jay
Samuels and Alan E. Farstrup. © 2011 by
the International Reading Association.
Other readings…
• Pearson, P. D. (2013). Research foundations of the
Common Core State Standards in English language
arts. In S. Neuman and L. Gambrell (Eds.), Quality
reading instruction in the age of Common Core State
Standards (pp. 237-262). Newark, DE: International
Reading Association.
• Pearson, P. D., & Hiebert, E. H. (2013). Understanding
the Common Core State Standards. In L. Morrow, T.
Shanahan, & K. K. Wixson (Eds.), Teaching with the
Common Core Standards for English Language
Arts: What Educators Need to Know, Grades PreK2 (pp. 1-21). New York, NY: Guilford Press.