Tasks that Teach: A Seminar on Reading Comprehension Instruction for Reading Plus P. David Pearson UC Berkeley Goals for Today… • Offer participants a model of reading comprehension development and pedagogy. – What is it? – How do we nurture it? • How do we teach it? • How do we facilitate it? – How do we assess it? • This presentation complements Freddy Hiebert’s “Texts that Teach” a few weeks ago. A word about my relationship with Reading Plus • I am an advisor • I try to “convince them on the wisdom of my ideas” just like I try to convince EVERYONE else on them. • I will use some key examples from RP materials to illustrate the more general points I make about comprehension curriculum and pedagogy. What is Reading Comprehension? • A demonstration… • I will unfold a very short story, line by line. • Your job is to figure out “what’s going on” at every juncture… • A silent think aloud for you… The End of Elegance • Business had been slow since the latest rise in the price of crude. • Nobody seemed to want anything elegant anymore. • Suddenly a well-dressed man burst through the showroom door, • and headed straight for the most expensive model on the floor. • John Ingham peered over the top of his hornrimmed glasses, • over the the want ad section of the newspaper, • adjusted his loose-fitting jacket to hide the frayed sleeves of his shirt, • and rose to meet the man whose rhinestone stickpin and alligator boots (but were they real?) seemed out of place amidst the dazzling array of steel-gray • Mercedes sedans. • “I’ll take this one,” he said confidently, pointing to most expensive model on the floor… • “cash on the line!” • Later, the paperwork complete, John muttered to himself, “I’m glad I didn’t blow this one.” • He added, “What does he know about elegance? What does anyone know about elegance anymore? • Then he smiled wryly as he returned to his newfound pastime. What can we learn from our reading of this passage? • Words in the text COMPEL us as readers to invoke our knowledge to make sense of things. • The more unfamiliar the ideas and words in the text, the harder it is to make the link between text and knowledge. • Yet always seek the most plausible link to knowledge that we can generate. • Links to other parts of the text are equally important to us What can we learn? • Our internal standard for rendering texts sensible is two-fold: – Does the meaning I assign to a word, phrase, or sentence square with what I have read so far? – Does the meaning I assign to a word, phrase, or sentence square with what I know to be true about the world? • Corresponds to Walter Kintch’s construction-integration model: – Construct a Text Base – Integrate the Text Base with Knowledge to create a Situation Model (some call it a Mental Model) of the meaning of the text… – Change your Knowledge Kintchian-derived model… 3 Knowledge Base Text 1 Text Base Says Experience 2 Situation Model Means Inside the head Out in the world New and different • Most important: A new model of the comprehension process – Text (what the author left on the page) – Text base (the version a reader creates on a faithful first reading) – Knowledge (what the reader brings from prior experience AND what she has AFTER reading). – Model of meaning for a text • Dubbed the Situation Model (mental model) • A model that accounts for all the facts and resources available in the current situation What’s inside the Knowledge box? • World knowledge (everyday stuff, including social and cultural norms) • Topical knowledge (e.g., dogs and canines) • Disciplinary knowledge (e.g., how history or astronomy or mathematics works) What’s inside the knowledge box? • Knowledge about Language – Phonology – Lexical and morphological – Syntax – Genre – Pragmatics (how language works in the world): Discourse, register, academic language, intention – Orthography (how print relates to speech) That’s what we know about Comprehension…. But… • How does that knowledge square with the new sheriff in town is saying… • The CCSS • Is the theory of comprehension in the CCSS consistent with Kintsch’s model? • Absolutely! • But the mapping is a little tricky… • Key Ideas and Details • 1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. • 2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. • 3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. • Craft and Structure • 4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. • 5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. • 6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas • 7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.* • 8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. • 9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. Common Core • Standards 1-3: Key ideas and details • Standards 4-6: Craft and structure • Standards 7-9: Integration of knowledge and ideas http://www.scienceandliteracy.org/research/pdavidpearson Consistent with Cognitive Views of Reading Key Ideas and Details Integration of Knowledge and Ideas Craft and Structure Locate and Recall What the text says Integrate What the and text Interpret means What theand textEvaluate does Critique For those who want to see everything at once… Pearson Kintsch NAEP CCSS Says Text Base Locate and Recall Key Ideas and Details Means Situation Model Interpret and Integrate Integration of Knowledge and Ideas Does Put Knowledge to Work Critique and Evaluate Craft and Structure So what about all of this close reading debate? • Where does close reading come from? • Do we really need to discourage students from using their prior knowledge? • Should all questions in our discussions be text dependent? Publisher’s Guidelines:Stay close to the text • “Materials make the text the focus of instruction by avoiding features that distract from the text. Teachers’ guides or students’ editions of curriculum materials should highlight the reading selections…Given the focus of the Common Core State Standards, publishers should be extremely sparing in offering activities that are not text based.” • Text-dependent questions do not require information or evidence from outside the text or texts; they establish what follows and what does not follow from the text itself.” (page 6) My concern • We will operationally define text dependent as literal, factual questions • Forgetting that LOTS of other questions/tasks are also textreliant • Compare literal – What were two reasons pioneers moved west? – What does the author believe about the causes interpretive of westward expansion in the United States? – How valid is the claim that author X writes from an ideology of critical manifest destiny? • YOU DON’T NEED A LITERAL FACTUAL QUESTION TO PROMOTE CLOSE READING… • Fundamental misunderstanding about reading theory: – Every action—critical, inferential, or literal—requires the use of prior knowledge to carry it out… Close reading • The Common Core State Standards place a high priority on the close, sustained reading of complex text, beginning with Reading Standard 1. Such reading emphasizes the particular over the general and strives to focus on what lies within the four corners of the text. My concern • Fundamental misunderstanding of the role of prior knowledge in comprehension. • The text drags prior knowledge along even if you don’t want it to. – Schema Theory Tenet: Words INSTANTIATE schemata • Business had been slow since the oil crisis… – The text cries out for a schema to attach itself to. – Ideas that don’t connect don’t last long enough to allow learning (assimilation or accommodation) to occur • They drop out of memory pretty fast • In one eye and out the other! • The best way to encourage learning that lasts is to connect to PK. So what about Prior Knowledge • Why has it taken a beating in the Publishers’ Criteria • One thought: Too much Indulgence at the trough of prior knowledge – Too much Know, not enough Want to Learn and Learn – Too much picture walk – Too much story swapping about our experiences with roadrunners before reading… • Let’s right the wrongs • Need a mid course correction not a pendulum swing – Knowledge in proper perspective? – Balanced view of knowledge? – Knowledge in the service of understanding But asking kids to hold their prior knowledge at bay… • Is like • • • • • • Asking dogs not to bark or Leaves not to fall. It’s in the nature of things Dogs bark. Leaves fall. Readers use their prior knowledge to render text sensible and figure out what to retain for later. So what’s a body to do? • Embrace the construct of close reading – But make sure that it applies to several purposes for reading • Reading to get the flow of ideas in the piece. • Reading to enhance our knowledge base!!!! • Reading to compare (with another text or body of experience or knowledge • Reading to critique – how good is the argument or the craft or – what is his bias/slant/perspective) – All of these approaches interrogate the text as an evidentiary base. • Develop a set of routines to enact these purposes for close reading So what about all of this close reading debate? • Where does close reading come from? – Publisher’s Criteria and New Criticism • Do we really need to discourage students from using their prior knowledge? – No, but we need to stop indulging at the trough of prior knowledge. • Should all questions in our discussions be text dependent? – All questions should be motivated by the text and rely on textual evidence/support, but – Balance of literal, interpretive, and critical tasks – SAYS, MEANS, and DOES How about the mapping of the CCSS onto Reading Plus? Mapping Reading Plus onto CCSS Type Standard Description Core 1-3 Craft 4-6 Understand how ideas in the story are linked. Getting the gist. Understand how and why authors organize text and use the words they do to shape readers’ understanding. Critical 7-9 Analyze, synthesize, and evaluate text. CCSS College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading Key Ideas and Details 1 2 3 Craft and Structure 4 5 6 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas 7 CRAFT CORE 8 9 CRITICAL 1a 2a 3a 4a 5a 6a 7a 8a 9a 1b 2b 3b 4b 5b 6b 7b 8b 9b 2c 3c 4c 5c 6c 7c QT1: Working from Short term Memory QT2: Excerpt provided QT3: Two excerpts available QT4: Integrating Text and Image: Image available but not the text… Thus the overall goal of RP See Reader • Provide students with a rich reading experience in which they… – Read increasingly complex texts, with increasing silent reading efficiency, about topics that are worth learning about in their own right – Encounter vocabulary they can use to build and name new knowledge – Answer questions that stretch their comprehension repertoire across the entire range of tasks required in the CCSS – With the ultimate goal of building knowledge that will enhance future comprehension activities What about Monitoring and Providing Feedback about Comprehension • The Critical Issue: Grain Size: Performance • Finding a Place to Stand: – Too Few Skills: No diagnostic infrastructure: hard to help kids who need assistance – Too Many Skills: A remedial quagmire: How do you ever make your way out of the 39 subskills? • Looking for a Goldilocks solution • Our solution: Use the CCSS Anchor Standards – Gives us 9 things to monitor and use to guide instruction Why this position • Balances the tension between – Getting down to the specific needs of students.. – Recognizing the truth about reading comprehension subskills • they have more in common with one another than the long lists suggest. The truth about subskills in reading comprehension • Things that appear to be different from one another actually are quite similar. Categorizing Things or Events • • • • • • Main Idea Theme Topic Title Summary Synthesizing Reasoning from the stated to the unstated • Drawing conclusions • Drawing or making inferences • Detecting motives • Predicting outcomes • Cause and effect The truth about subskills… • • • • • Empirical studies of this clustering… Factor Analytic studies… Begin with 10 subskills Assess all 10. Examine the interrelations among the scores on all 10 The truth about subskills… • • • • • Empirical studies of this clustering… Factor Analytic studies… Begin with 10 subskills Assess all 10. Examine the interrelations among the scores on all 10 The truth about subskills… • Consistent findings from the factor analytic studies • Start with 10 and end up with 3 • Common Pattern – Word meaning factor – Drawing inferences from content to PK – Utilizing text structure or attending to authorial moves to get to meaning. Conclusion… • You need an infrastructure for teaching and monitoring comprehension, but… • You don’t need 30 or 40 but you need more than 2 or 3… • The 9 from the Common Core seem about right, especially if we can emphasize the 3 big clusters – Main ideas and details – Craft and structure – Integration of knowledge and ideas So what can we do in the name of remediation • What teachers do: – Strategy Instruction – Modeling and guided practice on the way to independent practice… • Plans for the future: Our goals are to create a virtual Reading Coach to assist teachers in this all important approach to improving student’s independent journey through undertanding and learning from text • Basic explicit instruction model: All Teacher Responsibility Shared Responsibility: Moving Gradually from Teacher to Student All Student Responsibility Duke, Pearson, Strachan, & Billman, 2011 What does the any good comprehension program look like? • Basic approach: – – – – Provide texts that are worth reading Scaffold students into greater efficiency, especially silent reading Do rich vocabulary activities, some before and many after reading Use the full range of comprehension probes to ensure a full encounter with close reading of all types (literal, inferential, and critical) • Supplemental – When the going is tough for a student, you provide extra scaffolding – Coaching them on how to use strategies more effectively (use GRR=Gradual Release of Responsibility model) – Providing extra practice on specific standards that indicate the need for improvement. • Assessment: – Formative—checking comprehension every day along the way – Stopping periodically for some sort of benchmark assessment to assess progress Moving from a vicious to a virtuous cycle in student learning • Failure begets low motivation begets failure… • Knowledge begets comprehension begets knowledge— – The more you know, the more you understand. – The more you understand, the more you learn. – The more you learn, the more you know. – The more you know… Everything I know about comprehension… • Essential Elements of Fostering and Teaching Reading Comprehension • Nell K. Duke, P. David Pearson, Stephanie L. Strachan,and Alison K. Billman • What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction (4th ed.) edited by S. Jay Samuels and Alan E. Farstrup. © 2011 by the International Reading Association. Other readings… • Pearson, P. D. (2013). Research foundations of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts. In S. Neuman and L. Gambrell (Eds.), Quality reading instruction in the age of Common Core State Standards (pp. 237-262). Newark, DE: International Reading Association. • Pearson, P. D., & Hiebert, E. H. (2013). Understanding the Common Core State Standards. In L. Morrow, T. Shanahan, & K. K. Wixson (Eds.), Teaching with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts: What Educators Need to Know, Grades PreK2 (pp. 1-21). New York, NY: Guilford Press.