Comprehension is key. You’ve heard it before, “My child can read anything you put in front of him, but he can’t remember it or talk about it.” As many of you have tried to explain this is an example of word calling because reading by definition implies comprehension.
Well, it happened to me today. No, I don’t mean another parent told me about their “reader,” I mean it actually happened to me.
comprehension – What????
This is our teacher back to school week. You know what that means…meetings, planning, meetings, testing, meetings, scheduling, meetings…and it goes on and on. It is almost a relief when the students come back because our schedules can become routines and consistency rules. Another thing you need to know about my school is that we have a “California-style” school building in Coastal Virginia, that is, all the first and second grade classroom doors open to the outside. We only have 2 main hallways in the main building, but the outside “hallways” are actually sidewalks.
Last year, our AWESOME Assistant Principal painted green paw prints on the path to the kindergarten classes…so the kindergartners follow the paws and don’t get lost.
Yesterday in the middle of the day, I walked outside my office and down the sidewalk to the main building…a walk I do at least ten times a day. I had several things on my mind and I was making a list as I was walking. When I got to the main building door, I read the sign and finally READ the sign. Oh no!
WET PAINT! I looked at the bottoms of my shoes to see if I had walked through the paint. When I looked back there were 5…yes, I said 5 signs I had walked past and “read.”
THEN, when I got to the last one, I actually READ the sign. Finally, there was comprehension. The PTA had added yellow paw prints to the path.
What a stark realization…this is what students are doing all the time. They are “reading” the signs and not processing ANY of the information…even though they might have read the same passage several times. We have to make sure they are reading WITH comprehension.
We need to make sure we are providing them with comprehension strategy instruction and practice. Students also need accountability with silent reading, so we can make sure it is ACTUALLY reading.
The next time someone says someone can “read anything,” but “can’t talk about it…” think about my Wet Paint sign. It took me 4 signs before I actually comprehended what the 5th sign.
By the way, I didn’t walk in the paint, but I’m sure that was accidental.