Comprehensive Comprehension Catalyst (C3)
A Workshop on reading comprehension by Steve Tattum
Comprehension is the Achilles heel of many low-level and struggling readers. Even those who sound reading fluent often can’t tell you much about what they read. For teachers, existing comprehension strategies often seem ineffective, particularly with students with learning differences. The reality is that few reading programs teach comprehension well.
Our C3 approach to comprehension will put you on the right track to teaching comprehension to all students with scientifically and clinically backed methods for helping low-level readers remember what they read and, most importantly, be able to convey their understanding orally or in writing.
In under 10 hours, this hands-on workshop will teach participants a step by step lesson plan that incorporates all the components of a successful comprehension program (including: vocabulary, background, text structures, think-aloud for 12 processes, memory techniques, fluency, and interpersonal connections). It will give you background into why students struggle with comprehension and provide tips and tricks for best practices in implementing these ideas and comprehension techniques to individual students and in the classroom setting.
Who should take this workshop?
Teachers and parents of students who:
1. Can read the text well but do not comprehend what they read.
2. Can read & comprehend well but don’t remember what they read.
3. Are not fluent readers.
4. Are English Language Learners.
5. Live with cognitive challenges.
6. Are on the spectrum.
Workshop Overview: Teach educators and parents how to stimulate comprehension and retention of difficult material.
Outcomes: Workshop participants will be able to perform a daily lesson plan for students with comprehension issues that addresses all components of an effective program. Participants will learn how to create and teach gist statements and check for students’ comprehension at the end of any reading.
Workshop Structure: Three 3-hour sessions to a complete comprehension approach to reading.
Part 1: What are the elements of comprehension? How can story structures be used to increase and catalyze comprehension?
The workshop will begin with a brief review of the research on effective comprehension instruction and the introduction of 12 Comprehension processes taught in the Comprehensive Comprehension Catalyst (C3) program. These 12 processes will be taught along with sign language as recommended by Cathy Block. Story structures help provide a roadmap for students to connect to their understanding of what is happening in a story. The workshop will present story structures for the elements of fiction and nonfiction.
Part 2: Vocabulary and background information
Participants will learn the key components of a daily 55-minute lesson plan. The lesson will begin with the introduction and review of idioms, student’s vocabulary, and previewing vocabulary from the text. Participants will anticipate and fill in gaps in the student’s background by previewing information in which the student may be unfamiliar. The internet is utilized to give context and meaning to unfamiliar concepts.
Part 3 The role of transition words and pronouns
Participants will learn about the critical role of transition words (such, as, and, but, however) and how these words telegraph the direction of the sentence and its meaning. The students will be asked to identify what noun to which the pronouns refer.
Part 4: Four basic text structures are introduced
Four basic text structures will be presented: 1. The Basic (who or what did what?) 2. The Gist (somebody did something because). 3. The Cause Effect Gist (these are the causes and these are the effects). 4. The Problem-Solving Gist (this is the problem and these are the solutions).
Part 5: The Lesson body
Participants will practice how to model the comprehension processes to a student by having the student read to the teacher for a paragraph and then having the teacher model two of the transition identification processes mentioned above, then flip roles and have the teacher read a paragraph and the students will utilize the processes. The students will then read and perform both processes of reading and using think-aloud for the comprehension processes on his/her own. The teacher will then read and check for understanding. The teacher will be modeling inferences whenever possible. Phrasing and repeated reading will be introduced to aid in the development of fluency.
Participants will practice how to close each reading session with effective use the Wh’s (who or what, did what, where, when why, and how). The student will formulate a Why question and then answer it. They will also answer the teacher’s Why question. After the Wh questions, the student will cite the main ideas of the chapter.
Part 6: Taking reading and understanding to a deeper level
Participants will learn how to move through the literal processes and help the student move into deep reading. Here the workshop will outline approaches to having the evaluate the reading or article and discuss the feelings involved and explore different perspectives. In addition, the participants will learn study skills to help students remember the information that they have just read.
Part 7: Showing what you know
The workshop will conclude with a tutorial in teaching writing. In particular, participants will learn some simple methods for helping reluctant writers express what they know by writing either a summary, a gist statement or a short one paragraph essay (aka The Hamburger).
Materials: Jamestown Press Critical Reading Program: The Outer Edge Books: grades 2-4; Wildside grades 4-6; Critical Reading grades 6-8; Above and Beyond grades 8-10