> Reading Comprehension
Building Blocks of Comprehension: What's
the Big Idea?
This kind of exercise is a good stepping-stone
for learning how to read a paragraph or longer passage and
figure out the main idea.
Instead of working with paragraphs and
pages, start with words -- and concrete, comprehensible words.
This kind of exercise is easy to individualze by considering
readability (though reading it over with the student to make
sure this doesn't present problems of its own is a good idea),
vocabulary, abstractness, degree to which the ideas are related,
For younger students, non-readers, second-language
students, or very visual learners, you can introduce this
with pictures -- show three flowers and ask what they have
in common. Don't take understanding for granted
-- for some students you should start simple and concrete,
until it's an easy process. Only then, introduce abstractions
like the fact that one thing could be in two different categories,
for different reasons (yellow things and flowers, for example).
Allow for some variation, and use it diagnostically. If a
student perceives snakes and lizards as animals, that's correct
-- but you'll want to focus on narrowing things down a bit
while making sure there's the background knowledge to make
the classifications you're expecting. Individualizing exercises
to student areas of interest can be especially beneficial.
Sample Question: What
is the name of the group to which these things belong (or
"what's a good title for this list?")
1: basic list
Exercise 3 - adding your own
- adding your own detail
Harry Potter categories - 1
Harry Potter Categories - 2
Read and Write Gold: Highlighting the Main Idea Exercises
Guided exercises to teach students to use the highlighting feature to choose the category from the list of items
Pick out the category from the list- (RTF file to be printed)
Pick out category 2 (RTF for printing)