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The Case Against Reading Activities

 by hilton on 08 Mar 2012 |
1 Comment(s)
Yes I know that I am an advocate for the use of follow-up activities in the classroom reading programme but there is a strong case put forward by teachers and educationalists which has to be recognised.

Many will condemn ‘worksheets’ as busy work, and it is true that the kids can easily get the wrong message about what reading is actually about.
The problem is (as always) not with the tool but with the application. When reading activities BECOME the reading programme – go away and read this story then answer the questions – there is something sadly wrong.

This isn’t an instructional reading programme, this is activity management with a forlorn hope that through mileage the reader will somehow imbibe the reading skills and strategies they need to become a better reader.
Rarely does this happen.

Follow-up activities are an organisational necessity in a balanced reading programme.
They keep the rest of the class meaningfully employed while you the teacher get to go the instructional work with your reading groups. (If you don’t have reading groups you don’t need follow-up activities).
BUT ...
Follow-up activities have to be taught
You will get back from the kids exactly what you are prepared to put in. Spend time explaining the activity, modelling the response you are after, and provide the opportunity to share the results and get feedback.  
AND ...
Follow-up activities should be so much more than grinding through a list of ‘search and destroy’ comprehension questions.
Provide your readers with graphic responses as well as written responses. Provide variety that utilise higher order thinking and allow choice.
For more on this topic 6 Things About Follow-Up Comprehension Activities


Tonia Eckhoff - Comment
Tonia Eckhoff09 Mar 2012Reply
Some great reminders indeed.
"Asking questions is assessing comprehension - not teaching comprehension. Two thirds of teaching comprehension is done before and during text reading." Stephen Graham, NZ Reading Comprehension Seminar, 2005.

Tonia Eckhoff
Resource Teacher of Literacy

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