Meaning errors are all about making sense. Grammatical Patterns and language structures are about meaning
For a quick review, students who make meaning errors are using meaning to help guide their reading. Meaning errors are only looking at the illustrations, story meaning, the text, or their prior knowledge to read, not digging deeper.
While making reading make sense is important, these errors turn into a comprehension breakdown when we don’t use all clues (visual and structure) to read. Here are some ideas for students who are making meaning errors.
1. Picture Focus
Students are using the pictures, so let’s make the most of this strategy. Helping students use the picture to focus what they see, can help them make decisions about the story.
When there is a picture that could be many words (like forest and woods, in the picture above). Help students look at the picture and name all the things it could be called, making it easier for them to recall the words when they are reading. Also, show them pictures and ask them nonsense questions. HOWEVER, a picture focus is never to support guessing. It is to use meaning to predict and match to the letters.
“Will I read about a lion at a swimming pool? Will I read about a monkey in the arctic?
2. Sequence Activities
Knowing the beginning, middle, and end of a story creates meaning. Using picture cards the students have to order can allow students to make sense of sequencing. Putting pictures out of order can require students to either know the correct order or be able to tell why they are not in the correct order.
“We can’t go to the brick house in the middle of the story, the fox won’t be able to blow it down and if he moves on the stick house after that. That brother pig would be in danger.”
3. What can it be?
Students can be have fun with the “What can it be?” game.
The teacher can show a little bit of a picture and then give the students clues to figure it out.
Using this game is a great way to help students use what they know to help make educated decisions about the topic.
You can use any standard picture cards, just shield most of the picture from the students and ask questions to help them detect what the picture is.
4. Bubble Maps
Bubble maps help students build prior knowledge. Cooperatively making the bubble maps helps all students share in the combined knowledge of the group.
Before a book is introduced, making the bubble map about fall can help put language and vocabulary in their minds. This can provide greater knowledge for students to make meaning of the story.
The true bubble map will have examples in the circle and non-examples are outside the circle. If the book is about fall let the students decide if a swimming pool or snowman would belong on the bubble map.
5. Semantic Gradients
I love semantic gradients, but anyone who knows me, knows this.
This vocabulary integration helps students have a “dictionary” of synonyms to use while reading.
In addition, they need to know the difference between cool and icy or the difference between big and jumbo. Knowing these gradients, can help students make meaning choices when reading.
I like using paint chips as a chart for semantic gradients also helps the student make the connection that definitions can have gradations with similar, but not completely identical definitions. Check out some of the other posts about text gradients:
6. Context Clues
Lessons using context clues are good at any level.
Students will need to use what they know in the sentence or story to help make meaning choices.
Using the picture to the right, ask students to name something that could be in the barn. Cow. Horse. Cat. Crab?
This is the perfect lesson for the “Skip and Reread” reading strategy.
Students practice reading to the end of the sentence, then rereading for meaning.
When they reread the sentence, they should add the strategy “Get Your Mouth Ready” to determine what is actually in the barn.
7. Make Connections
For some reason this is the “go to” strategy for many teachers. It’s a great strategy, but it should be used in conjunction with other strategies. Making connections automatically helps make the story have meaning. We’ve all heard of text to self, text to text, and text to world, but lately we need to make sure we are discussing text to media.
Students are using laptops, iPads, and smart phones to read and learn about the world. They need to make connections with those activities, as well. In my school, our students can understand the text to media more than text to self, because our students don’t have many personal experiences. They rely on media for this.
I hope these ideas can provide your students with activities for making meaning when they read.
If you’d like a SAMPLE of Meaning Error Activities, click the link or the picture below.
If you have questions about the type of errors your students are making, feel free to add your questions in the comments or message me.