A Transactional Strategies Approach to Comprehension Instruction
Students have difficulties in reading comprehension. Most institutions have a large percentage of students who have difficulties in reading comprehension. The difficulties result from learning disabilities. Children having learning disabilities are likely to perform poorly in class unlike children having no learning disabilities. This is because learning disabilities interfere with student performance. Learning disabilities make students have difficulties in reading comprehension (Brown, 2008).
Comprehension strategies can be used to help students having difficulties in reading comprehension. Comprehension strategies are collection of steps that students use when reading comprehension. Comprehension strategies have a lot of benefits as they help students with reading difficulties become active in class as they are able to read like other students. There are ten comprehension strategies that can be used to help students improve their reading skills. The strategies are arranged in order of importance (Bates, 2002).
First, students are required to ask questions when reading. The teacher should ask students simple questions about the story. This helps the student understand what he or she is reading. Most students do not understand the comprehension being read because they do not ask questions. Researchers argue that asking simple questions when reading a comprehension helps student develop reading skills. For example, in reading a comprehension on effects of television on eating disorders, the teacher can help the students formulate questions like “how does television lead to eating disorders”. Asking questions when reading a comprehension helps teachers identify the focus of the student. The teacher is able to identify students who have difficulties in reading comprehension and those who have no difficulties (Bates, 2002).
The second strategy is prediction strategy. The teacher should help students predict what is going to happen at the end of the story. The prediction strategy helps students master the content being read. A large percentage of developing readers do not know how to read comprehensions. This is because the students have difficulties in reading. The students are unable to predict what will happen at the end of the story. Teaching students how to predict what will happen enables students read comprehension well.
Moreover, it helps improve reading skills and understanding among developing learners. Students having difficulties in comprehension reading should be taught how to predict the outcome of the story. The teacher should help the student identify the outcome of the story after every paragraph or chapter. The prediction stages for new readers and old readers differ. The teacher should help new readers predict the outcome of the story at the end of each page. For old readers the teacher should predict the outcome of the story after every chapter (Gillet, Temple & Crawford, 2008).
Moreover, the teacher should encourage the student to relate what is happening in the story with real life experiences. The student should be able to relate the content of the story with his real life. This improves the level of understanding among the students. Students are able to apply the content in the comprehension with real life experiences. The teacher should also begin teaching the students using real life experiences. This helps the student build background of what is contained in the comprehension. Researchers claim that this is the best method to boost reading comprehension among the students. This stimulates the students as they are affected by the story. Hence, making it easy for the student comprehend the content of the story. For example, if the story contains a pet, then the teacher should ask questions related to the pet in the story. For instance, he can ask “you have a pet, what is its name”(Bates, 2002).
In addition, teachers can use retelling strategy to help elementary student improve comprehension reading skills. The teacher should ask the student to retell what is happening in the comprehension. The student can explain what is happening in the comprehension by writing it down or by narrating it verbally. The teacher should decide when the students should retell the events. For example, the teacher can ask the students to retell what is happening in the story at the end of each section or at the end of the story. Retelling strategy is important as it helps the teacher identify students who have difficulties in comprehension reading. This makes it each for the teacher to provide comprehensive instructions to the student. Also, retelling strategy has a lot of benefits to the students. The strategy helps students acquire comprehension reading skills and also improve existing skills. For example, students should be asked to retell the story about a pet (Bates, 2002).
Further, the teacher should choose reading materials that are interesting to the students. For example, if a student is interested in reading a story book that contains vehicles, the teacher should choose reading materials that have vehicles. The reading materials motivate the student to read the story. This makes it easy for the student to understand the content in the book and improve his reading skills. Students who are subjected to motivating books perform well in comprehension reading unlike students who are not exposed to interesting books. Thus, the teacher should provide instructions that are in line with the interests of the student (Brown, 2008).
Additionally, the teacher should use contextual clues to help the student develop comprehension reading skills. Contextual clues are used to help students having difficulties in decoding the meaning of words in the vocabulary. The teacher should help students identify vocabulary in the story and the meaning of the key words (Bates, 2002).
The teacher should use main idea reading comprehension strategy. It is difficulty for new readers to read a new book. This is because the students are not aware of the content of the book. New books contain different themes, vocabulary and this makes it hard for the student comprehends the content. The teacher should help the student understand what is contained in the book before reading it. For example, the teacher can explain the themes and vocabulary in the book. Helping students know the content of the book before reading helps him build background about the content. This makes it easy for the student to read the book. Hence, teachers should use this strategy to motivate new readers to read comprehensions and improve comprehension reading skills (Gillet, Temple & Crawford, 2008).
Apart from using main idea reading strategy, the teacher should alternate reading hard books and easy books. The teacher should encourage students to read known books and new books regularly. This makes it easy for the student to develop reading skills as he will be able to read different comprehensions (Gillet, Temple & Crawford, 2008).
The read aloud strategy can also help improve comprehension reading in elementary students. Teachers should read the comprehension loudly to the student. This motivates the students and improves listening skills among the students (Gillet, Temple & Crawford, 2008).
Lastly, the teacher should read comprehensions with the students on regular basis. This is important as it helps the student learn how to identify vocabulary and read comprehensions (Gillet, Temple & Crawford, 2008).
Activity 1: The teacher can use English vocabulary games with pictures. The student should illustrate vocabulary words using pictures and video clips. They should be able to arrange pictures according to the vocabulary. The student should draw and label something to show the meaning of the word. The teacher can ask the student to draw a cat. The drawing is used to illustrate the vocabulary cat (Gillet, Temple & Crawford, 2008).
Activity 2: The word search game can be used to help the student learn vocabulary. The student will use definitions to find the words from the word store. The activity makes it easy for the students to learn news vocabulary and their meaning. For example, the students can use the definition of the word vehicle to search the word (Gillet, Temple & Crawford, 2008).
Activity 3: The teacher can use word puzzles to teach the students new vocabulary. Word puzzles encourage students to fill the puzzle with the right words. This helps students master difrednt vocabularies. The student is supposed to create certain words while filing in the word puzzle (Gillet, Temple & Crawford, 2008).
Activity 4: The student should generate examples for the words identified. Also, he should generate non examples for the same words. Then the student should explain why he thinks the examples are good or not. The teacher should use words that are not good examples to explain the meaning of the word. For example, the student can give examples that are related to words like car. “The drive was driving the car at a high speed”. This sentence contains various vocabularies that are related to the word “car”. The vocabularies include drive, high speed(Gillet, Temple & Crawford, 2008).
Activity 5: A word drop game can be used to teach students new vocabulary. The students are supposed to the letters given so as to unscramble the words. This enables the students to learn new vocabularies. For example, the student can click letter “C” and the words beginning with letter “C” appear (Gillet, Temple & Crawford, 2008).
Bates, M. E. (2002). What information literacy problem? EContent, 25(2), 56.
Brown, R. (2008).The Road Not Yet Taken: A Transactional Strategies Approach to Comprehension Instruction. The Reading Teacher 61 (7) 538-547.
Gillet, J., Temple, C., & Crawford, A. (2008). Understanding reading problems: Assessment and instruction (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon, page 251-273
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