Comprehension can be tough but lots of fun! I really enjoy reading to my students. They get a lot from this time. We are working on vocabulary, language, comprehension, and several other basic skills. In my class, we read a variety of books. I have used modified books of Hatchet, Clays Quilt, Holes, Walk Two Moons, Romeo and Juliet, The Outsiders, and many others. I have also read novels to my students that haven’t been modified. For example, Twilight, Maximum Ride, Divergent, The Hunger Games, and many others. We are getting ready to read a modified book on Harriet Tubman.
When reading, it is extremely important to use visuals. There is always a bulletin board up in my room to assist with reviewing our current story. When we read a modified version of Romeo and Juliet, we built the bulletin board as the story progressed. It started simply with the names of the main characters and their last names. Then as others were introduced, they were added to the bulletin board. When events occurred, I would connect the events. For example, there was a heart with wedding bands in it. When Romeo and Juliet were married, my students took a black marker and drew a line from Romeo to the rings and a line from Juliet to the rings. When someone died, my students would place a large X over the picture and glue a small picture of a tombstone to it. The bulletin board was interactive and great for reviewing each day.
When we read Maximum Ride, I had pictures of each character up on the bulletin board including pictures of what I imagined the Erasers would look like. We reviewed the characters special abilities and different things they had done throughout the story each day before reading. When we read Divergent, the students had small faction cards to refer to during the story. We also had a bulletin board with the factions and information about them on it.
We are starting with a modified story on Harriet Tubman this week. Students will each have a storyboard at their desks to cut out and place the pictures in the sequence they occurred in the story. There will also be a bulletin board with vocabulary words on it, and across the top of the wall will be larger pictures for sequencing the story as we go along. It will allow for review before reading the next story. Students can take copies of the storyboard worksheet home with them as homework, too.
Regardless of the book we are reading, each chapter is always followed with a comprehension quiz. Sometimes we need to repeat the chapter the following day to ensure the students understand what is going on. Giving the comprehension quiz, allows me to decide if I should proceed or repeat the story. My students make great strides in understanding what we are discussing, when they have visuals to follow.
Do you read to your students? What are some techniques you use to help ensure your students understand the concept?