The second level of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Understanding) requires the reader to show that they can interpret the literal message they have read.Here are two activities that are particularly appropriate for non-fiction text.
1. Draw a Picture of ...Creating a graphic representation of a concept or action in a text (a picture, diagram or map) can only be achieved if meaning has been constructed first. If that has not happened then the readers lack of understanding is exposed and revisiting text to find and clarify meaning is necessary.
2. Headings and Trigger Words – rewrite a paragraph
This is one of my favourites because it has such a powerful transference into research and writing skills.
Coming up with a HEADING for a paragraph of text forces the reader to search out the main idea and purpose of the writing and provide a one or two word overview. As with any comprehension tool, this skill must be taught and can be honed by the reader being asked to justify their choice.
The next step is to identify a small number of words that trigger in the head of the reader, the information that is included in the paragraph. These may be words from the paragraph but don’t have to be. The test of this is can the paragraph be retold or rewritten from the Heading and Trigger Words only – no reference to the original text. Try this ... you will be surprised at how powerful this is.
SharpReaders will recognise this as a processing tool that is part of our Stage 5. The difference is that in the guided reading lesson the reader learns to habitualise this strategy WHILE they are reading.
Here is an example of how these activities are presented in our resources (from "Force of Nature - Explanations")