Building Reading Comprehension Habits

| January 19, 2011

Title: Building reading comprehension habits in grades 6-12 : a toolkit of classroom activities 

Author :  Jeff Zwiers

Publisher: Newark, DE : International Reading Association

Call number: LB1632 .Z95 2010

From the Publisher:

This book offers middle school and high school teachers in all curricular areas research-based, innovative activities to strengthen students’ reading comprehension.

The activities in the book are organized around six automatic habits of reading comprehension that help proficient readers actively construct meaning as they read:

1) Organizing text information by sculpting the main idea and summarizing
2) Connecting to background knowledge
3) Making inferences and predictions
4) Generating and answering questions
5) Understanding and remembering word meanings
6) Monitoring one’s own comprehension

The chapters define and describe the habits, then provide activities that you can use to strengthen students’ use of the habits. Each activity offers a brief description of the activity’s purpose and a step-by-step procedure for putting it into place.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Most activities offer reproducible graphic organizers reproducible graphic organizers and variations on the activities to help English language learners, struggling readers, and other students who need extra support.

AUDIENCE: Middle school and high school preservice and inservice teachers, teacher educators, remedial teachers, reading specialists, supervisors and administrators.

About the author:

Jeff Zwiers is a Stanford lecturer and an induction mentor who conducts professional development for teachers around the world. He has written several books and articles on academic language and literacy development. 

Dr. Zwiers  has worked for many years as a mentor in urban school settings, and trains teachers to facilitate professional learning teams that use a collaborative cycle of inquiry. He also participates in international education development efforts that promote bilingual education, critical thinking, formative assessment, and engaged learning. He has published books and articles on reading, thinking, and academic language. His most recent book is Building Academic Language: Essential Practices for Content Classrooms (2008). His current action research focus is on using academic conversations to accelerate the development of content, language, and cognitive skills in all subject areas.

He says, “Despite considerable research showing that classroom talk is vital, productive academic conversation is rare in most settings. I will share three vital components of academic language acquisition (input, output, and negotiation of meaning) and how to weave them into any lesson. I will then show ways to scaffold five key academic conversation skills with videos of paired conversations and audience participation in activities. We will conclude by discussing how to use conversations to engage, instruct, and assess students’ development of academic language, cognitive skills, and complex content understandings.”

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