Diagnosing Breakdowns in Comprehension

It a video discussion for Reading Rockets, panelists Isabel Beck, Nanci Bell, and Sharon Walpole discuss the components for reading comprehension and share strategies to promote student learning with this outcome. At minute 3:27, Dr. Walpole explains where breakdowns in comprehension typically occur. They include

  1. A child’s knowledge of the world is inconsistent with what the author expects a reader to know.
  2. A child’s vocabulary knowledge is inconsistent with the word choices an author has made for a text.
  3. The syntactic demands are great and
  4. A child lacks strategies to work through complex text.

At minute 10:27 Dr. Warpole suggests helping with these breakdowns by a) making sure students know how to decode easily and well b) teach concept knowledge and c) build vocabularies. Dr. Beck, at minute 21:22 later substantiates the claim that vocabulary instruction is “essential” and that the youngest students should be working with “big words.”

You can watch the video through the link here.

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About Aaron Grossman

I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary. Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here). In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador. I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at coretaskproject@gmail.com
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