Previously I shared that having your child read over summer break is vital to maintaining their aptitude level. Unfortunately reading is not the same as understanding; and too often the emphasis is placed on getting through as many books as possible, which can result in merely skimming them without the benefits of expanding vocabulary or focusing on correct spelling, grammar and sentence structure.
Furthermore, cognitive science and learning research shows that “deep learning” requires gaining new information that can be connected to our own lives, which means reading comprehension is a must.
The best tool for developing this important skill is through the use of a Reflective Response Journal, which can be in the form of a composition book, legal pad, spiral notebook, or a computer document. The purpose of the journal is to foster an active, rather than passive, reader; and this exercise can be scaled to suit the age and reading level of your child.
The reflection exercise consists of responding to questions that prompt your child to explore his or her impressions and develop genuine thoughts and opinions. In other words, it serves to build valuable metacognitive skills. Therefore, entries go beyond superficial book reports, which only regurgitate the plot of the story.
Ideally, the journal entries should consist of well-formed and thoughtful responses to the types of questions listed below.
So, get your child started with using a Reflective Response Journal for each book they read, and watch them blossom into more thoughtful and engaged readers!
8/21/2017 09:42:59 am
You're welcome Rosemerry! Yes, they can certainly add drawings to their entries. It only makes the entry better!
8/21/2017 09:01:29 am
I love these questions for a reflective journal. This is such a great resource for parents and teachers who want to add variety to reflective journal questions. And it's great for getting readers to focus on different elements of what they read.
8/21/2017 09:48:01 am
Thank you Suzanne! I taught 4th grade for 11 years, and this was a part of their Language Arts. There is a great book named 7 Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmerman. I taught the 7 Keys (we focused on one per week) until they had learned them all. Then they were responsible for applying what they learned to their reading. It took some time, but all of the students were no longer "decoding" and "scratching the surface". They were getting much more from everything they read.
8/21/2017 09:22:31 am
Great post, and great list of ideas to help our students reflect on what they are reading! I'm going to use some of these reflective questions with my own students. Helping our students understand a reading at a deeper level is so beneficial.
8/21/2017 09:54:51 am
I agree Matthew. So many kids don't realize how much more there is to reading than just knowing basics (main character, where the story takes place, etc.). I hope your students are open to using the reflective response questions. My students had Reflective Response Journals. My reading program was a Book Club format. Students were put into groups of no more than 5 (I typically had no more than 18 students). Each month, the book they had to read was a different genre. A specific number of pages of reading were assigned each week, and Book Club discussions took place each Wednesday during Language Arts time. I was not a part of the Book Club discussion. All student driven. I only intervened if they got off track or someone was not contributing. Good luck, and let me know how your students like it!
8/21/2017 09:33:09 pm
I love this post. I have had lots of students who are able to decode their reading but don't understand a word of it. The sad part about it is they don't realize it until the end of the chapter or book.
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