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Recording reading comprehension lessons

Discussion in 'English' started by mackie83, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. mackie83

    mackie83 New commenter

    I find that writing answers often gets in the way of a good reading comprehension discussion so I am thinking of removing writing from the majority of my reading lessons.

    But I still want a record of the lessons and some way of showing pupil progress.

    Any ideas?
  2. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    I have done the same - we use the socratic seminar format, where the kids take charge of the discussion after their reading, and it has led to them being able to express their responses in far more detail, with much more thoughtful, sophisticated and intellectual comments. As they get more experienced at doing this, they can also start to challenge each other, asking for clarification, justification and development of a peer's idea.

    I show pupil progress by keeping a tally of the type of contributions they make to the discussions. I have an excel spreadsheet, and the categories for contributions are, off the top of my head, something like 'asks a question', 'responds to a direct question', 'develops someone else's idea', 'makes a challenge', 'initiates a discussion', 'uses a quotation to support their view', etc. I tick every time a student makes a contribution that fits one of these categories during a discussion, so at the end of the discussion I have a clear overview of the frequency and quality of contributions from each student. Over time, this means I can spot patterns - so for example if some students only ever respond to direct questions and never instigate discussions, or if some students contribute very little - and can then speak with them and make a plan to help them develop their skills and make more frequent/varied contributions.

    I have found that doing reading comprehension largely through discussion has massively improved their writing. We might do less writing now, but when we do write, the responses are more carefully thought through and use far better vocabulary than they did before. The seminar process has taught them how to think more critically and made them consider more carefully how they articulate their ideas. It's really following on from the primary school 'talk for writing' approach - the more opportunity they have to talk through their thoughts, the better they become at writing them down. I do think the obsession with making kids record everything in writing has been detrimental to their writing abilities. Less is more, in my experience! Hope that helps!
  3. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

  4. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    We do a mixture - lots of Socratic style seminars and discussion - which is the way I'd like to do it all the time, as it's the way analytical thinking, appreciation of text and plain old enjoyment of reading moves forward. But, in Year 6, we do still have to practise getting sensible and well thought out answers down on paper. As the year goes on, we also have to practise the timed element; reading is the paper that they most often don't finish.

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