Upon graduation, we hope students leave school equipped with skills, strategies, and tools to support a lifetime of literacy encounters. Whether on the job, in college, or informing oneself on Presidential Candidates; students will be continuously encountering text that must be digested and understood independently.
As educators, we must not only place complex text in the hands of our students but also support their learning through modeling and scaffolding of strategies Good Readers use to make sense and solve problems when reading difficult text. Although student understanding content is important, it is a transfer of these skills and strategies we want students to utilize any time they encounter complex text on their own.
3 Strategies to Support Student Interaction with Complex Text
1. Act on the text to support their understanding. Annotation, the practice of making notes for oneself, is one-way good readers interact with complex text to help them make sense of what they read.
Common Annotation Marks – Demonstrate, use, and teach students how Good Readers interact with and mark on text to aid in their understanding.
Digital Annotation Tools to Explore and Share with Students
- Scrible Toolbar,
- Explain Everything
- Google Classroom Drawing and Writing Tools
2. Identify difficult words in complex text and use strategies to help them understand meaning. Good Readers work within the word. They identify morphemes to provide part of the definition. Good Readers also work outside the word. They ask themselves what resources can I use to support understanding. For words that are discipline specific, Good Readers use resources, such as “Discipline Dictionaries” to gain meaning of unknown terms which aid in comprehension of complex text.
3. Finally, educators can model specific strategies during an Interactive Shared Reading. The text is delivered by the teacher while students read along silently. It is typically short and lively and promotes rereading as a way students can make sense of complex text. After the Interactive Shared Reading, the teacher may prompt discussion and support peer interaction about the text. Create a screencast for students to reference for additional support with specific strategies. It is important for students to see the text being read and hear the teacher’s thoughts as they model the specific strategy. Check out these screencasting options.
- Explain Everything
- Nearpod (not for screencasting, but an excellent tool to use to support an interactive shared reading)
Resources – Rigorous Reading, Fisher and Frey