Attending to Comprehension: Questioning and Connecting
The prerequisites for comprehension require an organized text, attention to task, and making connections from prior knowledge to new information to create new meaning (Laureate Education, 2001). The following lesson discusses all of these prerequisites to teach comprehension in the primary classroom using an outstanding text.
Skippyjon Jones by Judy Shauchner is a well organized book with a lovable main character that overcomes an obstacle through an obvious beginning, middle, and end. It also integrates Spanish within the story, and is set in Mexico; the students love this because many are from Mexico with ESL status.
This book is great for attention to task. As the story is read aloud, there are quite a few song-type rhymes where clapping is involved. Students will be required to join in the fun. Also, students will need to be thinking about Skippyjon’s wild imagination, and what objects in his room might be leading him to this extremely imaginative tale.
Finally, the students love to make connections with Skippyjon. It is easy to connect with for all students. Questions such as: Have you ever tried to be something you’re not? Have you ever disobeyed your parents? What would you do in this situation? Often, students will be required to create a “C” shape with their hands, and touch it to their chest when they are making a connection. Then, discuss if and how the connection helps understand the story (Tompkins, 2006).
Teaching comprehension begins when a child is read to the first time. It is important to use the prerequisites, so the child can later develop good reader behaviors, and become a successful reader with adequate comprehension skills (Laureate Education, 2001).
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2001). Strategies for literacy instruction, part 2 [Educational video]. Los Angeles: Author.
Tompkins, G. E. (2006). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall
© 2011 Chase J. Young. All rights reserved.