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Reading comprehension techniques for year six

Discussion in 'English' started by lizzybl3, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Help! I am starting a new job in September in year six, and I know that reading and writing are very weak. The school are desperate to get better results in sats next year as they are in special measures, and I am already feeling the pressure! Besides that I really want to help the children progress before secondary school. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can help the children improve their reading comprehension skills, aside from just giving them comprehension tests to do. I have thought about getting them to highlight key words in the text, but does anyone do anything different? Any help or advice would be much appreciated!
     
  2. Hi Lizzy,
    There are many ways to work on comprehension, but as a place to start, offering lots of opportunities for them to discuss texts, explaining them to each other and articulating their opinions on the meaning and language used would have definite benefits. You're right, just giving them comprehension tests won't achieve much other than boredom and experiencing failure for many. To improve reading and writing, you need to get an understanding of how they're reading and processing the text. I.e. what strategies they're using to decode and identify the words, how limited their working vocabulary is, and how they use their experience make sense of the text.
    Developing their ability to talk by building lots of genuine dialogue into the lessons (dialogue between pupils and between you and the pupils rather than questions for them to respond to) is clearly not the only way, but crucial to language development, and on the basis that if they can't think/say it, they can't write it, it's worth a try.

    You could also try getting them to create comprehension activities based on their own or favourite stories/books for other children to do.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. marlin

    marlin Star commenter Forum guide

    In the 'olden' days of teaching one of the 'buzz' words was DARTs - Directed Activities Related to Text. I think you could employ some of the strategies with your class. I used them with Year 6.
    Here are three links that give comprehensive information about the technique. You can use them with any book.
    http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/interacting-texts-directed-activities-related-texts-darts
    http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/pdf/DARTs-amended-19.12.08.pdf
    http://www.swanseagfl.gov.uk/literacy/res/lang_across_curr/DARTS_Information_booklet.pdf
     

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