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Teaching whole class comprehension skill

Discussion in 'Primary' started by chocochick, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. chocochick

    chocochick New commenter

    Hi everyone
    My school wants teachers to teach a whole class comprehension text and model how to answer questions once a week. Can anyone please tell me how they've set this up and deliver this in their class?
    Many thanks
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    o_O I take it you've never experienced whole class teaching before?

    It really is quite simple. As an inexperienced teacher delivering this I suggest you find one of the many photocopiable 'Comprehension text' books suitable for your age class. Later on you may be able to find a text during your class teaching in History/ Geog/ Science etc and write your own questions, but get acquainted with the format first.

    For modelling I would have a copy of the text up on the whiteboard.
    Read the whole passage through and check children understand any idioms, new vocabulary etc. then look at each question in turn. Ask the children for possible answers and then weave their replies into an answer. You might need to spend a couple of lessons on this.
    Early questions tend to easy and get more difficult later, to challenge the quicker HA pupils.

    After any answers the children write for themselves do a full plenary session on which answers were good and how to improve on ones which aren't. The latter provides a wonderful opportunity for peer discussion.

    When they're familiar with the technique you might like to try a techniques known as Read and Race- I have some free examples in the resources on this site.
    Here is the link straight to them.Thereafter you can simply adapt any text you already have using the same technique and the children generally lo the competitive element.;)
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    We read a text together. Sometimes they read silently and I hear a couple. Sometimes we take turns and read as a class. Occasionally they read a passage for HW. (And ssshhhhh but very occasionally they get on and read and I faff about getting the rest of the lesson ready. Oooops bad teacher day!)

    We read the question together and discuss the answer. I model writing it on the IWB and we discuss moving from what we know the answer is to how to write it so someone else can understand our thoughts. Then I blank out the board and they write the answer on their sheets.
    After a few weeks, I don't model writing the answer to the class, just to a small group who still need support with that aspect. We merely discuss the answer and then they write it.

    With older ones I would discuss the difference between 1 mark, 2 mark and 3 mark answers and the like.
    asnac and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. ElizaMorrell

    ElizaMorrell Occasional commenter

    I used to do this with year 2.

    I selected a text to work on over a whole half term (we did the Enchanted Wood, Paddington Bear, Jeremy Fisher, Winnie the Pooh and Fantastic Mr Fox). I then typed up chapters, usually starting from the beginning in the hopes that they would get excited and read the rest at home. We never managed more than 3 chapters per half term.

    After every few sentences, I would insert a text box with a comprehension question (usually focusing on finding answers in the text or inference, but this can obviously be tailored to the comprehension skills your class need).

    During the lesson, all children would hold their pencil and follow as I read, this way you can ensure participation and identify any children with tracking issues. After I had read the first chunk of sentences, we would go back to the start and I would choose children to read it, or all of the children would read aloud as a class, then we'd go back to the start again and they would read it in their heads. Rereading helps the weaker readers to understand and develop word recognition skills.

    Then we'd deal with the question. Either me or one of the kids would read it out and I would allow 30 seconds for children to write the answer. Most would get an answer at this point. However, you need an answer from them all. So, I would repeat the question and explain what had just happened in the sentences we had read. I'd give another few seconds and watch a few more pencils scribble. If there are any kids left without answers, you pick a few children to act out what's happened and this usually gets the last few pencils going.

    You can either discuss the model answer immediately, or you can come back to it at the end of the lesson. Usually, though, during the process of recapping and acting out, it has become obvious what a good answer would be so discussions are pretty much child-led.

    I usually found it helpful to have a ppt of pictures ready to correlate with the story as well. In Paddington, for example, we came across lots of vocab and concepts they didn't know (porter, boarding school, marmalade shockingly), and pictures are a quick and easy way of helping without slowing down instruction.

    Before the onslaught of 'where's your differentiation' comes, it is in the repetition and level of support given for each question. Your highers answer immediately, your middles answer after one prompt and your lowers get the benefit of multiple readings, discussion and acting out. Your weaker readers can pick out words in a sentence, practice tracking each word, hear a model of expressive reading, recognise repeated words, and they develop oral comprehension. They also get tonnes of confidence from reading and understanding a 'hard' book (and doing the same as the rest of the class. Differentiation can be hugely demoralising, but that's another discussion). It's awesome.
    Landofla and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  5. bernie30

    bernie30 New commenter

    Hey, my school have just adopted Whole Class Guided Reading using the Reading VIPERS - google this on Literacy Shed - amazing!! For once something works that all children can access at their level xx
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    We used to have a superb scheme SRA reading laboratory, when I first started teaching. Texts came on cards and were fully differentiated with different colour levels. Shame that there isn't anything like it today.:(
    guinnesspuss likes this.
  7. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    There are still resources you can but just like this.
  8. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Good to know.
    I just couldn't find anything like it when I was looking a few years back when I was teaching.
  9. chocochick

    chocochick New commenter

    Many thanks everyone for your replies-some very informative ideas and suggestions!

    "o_O I take it you've never experienced whole class teaching before?

    It really is quite simple."

    Lara, I have been teaching for 12 years so hopefully have whole class teaching somwhere under my belt and I think I may have nailed that part. In the past I have taught comprehension within guided reading sessions. What my query was about really was trying to structure the whole class reading (as opposed to teaching within the small group).
    Thank you to everyone who provided ideas (without any sarcasm!). Sometimes all we need is a little reassurance and some advice regardless of how long we've been teaching!! Every day is a learning day!!!
    mdhami, Mrs_Hamilton and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  10. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    In which case I heartily apologise for my presumption in presuming you were an NQT/RQT :oops:

    In which case as you say, it's a continuation of what you've been doing and knowing how to implement the differentiation.:)
  11. Ds2d12

    Ds2d12 Occasional commenter

    Typing up a whole book must be a lot of work? My new school is also going down this route atm. I think it’s fine but again, lack of evidence it works and no resources really makes it difficult to start.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. MadHatter1985

    MadHatter1985 New commenter

    Hello - I had found some really great inspiration from the book "Reading Rediscovered" by Doug Lemov. It's aimed more at secondary teachers, I think, but I've found a lot of the ideas can be easily adapted for KS2.

    There is a good chapter on different approaches to whole-class reading (Read Alouds, Independent Reading and something the author calls "Control the Game"), another really good chapter about how to integrate more writing into reading sessions and a very useful chapter on how to structure the lessons using different cycles of discussion, reading, writing and editing.

    I use the ideas from this book alongside really exciting fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

    It's a long book and I haven't read it all yet - some chapters might be a bit more useful for secondary. Overall, it's worked for me. My results have been better and the children seem really interested in the texts.

    Like you, I was trained in the guided reading carousel and I've never been happy with what the "other children" were doing whilst I was in my "bubble" with my guided reading group.
  13. asnac

    asnac Established commenter

    We tried SRA for a while, good for the children to independently follow a system, but the American context of the texts and the questions threw them at times. And we wanted them to develop skills in more extended written answers, which the multiple-choice system doesn't permit.

    The same sort of thing but for a UK market has been published by PrimEd. I haven't looked closely at it and would be interested to know if anyone's used it successfully.
  14. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Lots of good advice given. 'Reading Explorers' are also a useful resource for comprehension.
  15. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Valid comments asnac, with which I'd agree. Good to hear someone has attempted to produce a UK version, but as you say much depends if it will develop the skills of extended written skills to be truly useful.
  16. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

  17. ElizaMorrell

    ElizaMorrell Occasional commenter

    I did say that it was never more than 3 chapters. The other teachers were the same. If you're worried, just photocopy the book pages and produce a separate question sheet. Depending on their age they can cross reference, this is what the year 5 teacher did. Although some books are available online so you can copy and paste.

    I know it's not definitive proof but our school had a rise in year 2 and year 6 reading SATs scores and the vocabulary they got from it kept popping up in speech and writing.

    We sat down as a school and came up with a reading spine and each teacher was responsible for creating a pack of resources. It was one year of work (which was nothing compared to planning the useless carousel guided reading) and the resources are there for the next few years.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

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