Nell Duke Keynote – Day Two OLI

Developing Informational Reading Comprehension – Keynote

References – 2002 edition of What research has to say about reading instruction and N. Duke 2003 text with Scholastic

Reading Comprehension “definition” – simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language. (RAND, Reading Study Group, 2002)

Factors that impact comprehension:
readers – activity (why kids are reading) – text
(and all influenced by context)

Informational text is not a synonym for nonfiction. Think instead about informational text as addressing the natural or social world and that has particular linguistic features to accomplish that purpose.

Nonfiction is a big “umbrella” – under that comes informational text, procedural text (“how to” text), nonfiction narrative, biography & autobiography, persuasive text, reference books, etc.

Informational text is typically read differently than some other kinds of text (i.e., fictional narrative). For example, it is often read nonlinearly, selectively, and at a pact that varies from place to place in the text.

Common features of informational text: timeless verbs and generic nouns, technical vocabulary, graphic devices, navigational tools (headings, subheadings, page numbers)

(National Geographic Young Explorer, What do you do with a tail like this?, “Let’s go rock collecting” – sample titles)

8 Essential Elements
1. Provide experience with informational text, starting early. (There is growing evidence that reading comprehension is genre-specific to a least some degree, students need substantial experience with informational text — in HS kids are being read to vs. comprehending the info on their own, there is a relationship between informational text and growth in knowledge in a discipline.)

LOOK AT GUTHRIE, 2004 study of grade 4 students’ engaged reading time.

2. Teaching Strategies for Comprehending Informational Text (Even if you just teach one of these strategies, you’d make improvements in kids’ comprehension – monitoring and adjusting as needed, activation and applying relevant prior knowledge, questioning, thinking aloud, attending to and uncovering text structure, constructing visual representation), summarizing (likely the most difficult to do.)

“gradual release of responsibility” – teacher needs to “back off” as time continues and kids “own” the strategy. (What happens in most classes is that we teach something and immediately expect kids to have it. We forget the coaching in the middle — explicit description of strategy, modeling in action, collaborative use of strategy, guided practice, individual use)

Reutzel, Smith, & Fawson (2005) – research indicating that strategies can be taught in clusters, quickly used as sets rather than individually.

Collaborative Strategic Reading (cross between cooperative learning an reciprocal teaching
Students in groups of 4-5, students apply 4 comprehension strategies – preview text, “click and clunk” (to monitor comprehension), getting the gist (glean and restate the main idea), Wrap up and summarize. (EACH STUDENT HAS ROLE – leader, clunk expert, gist expert, announcer, encourager.) Kids complete learning logs before and after reading — predict what I will learn, identify clunks, questions about the important ideas.

3. Caring, a lot, about the authenticity and motivation..
Authentic literacy events are those that replicate or reflect reading and writing purposes and texts, specific to the genre, that occur in the world outside of a schooling context. (i.e., “school writing” – report on a state, read the textbook and answer the questions VS reading to learn something and writing to convey that information to someone who wants to learn something.)

How to?
Use discrepant events to generate questions (Prisms on the overhead) – creates cognitive dissonance and stimulates inquiry..
Demonstrate phenomena to generate questions (e.g., volcano, tub of caterpillars)
Serendipitous events brought from the world outside – Think “teachable moments” (e.g., broken arm – wrote an informational text for a students’ family – included nutritional information!
Literacy in response to COMMUNITY (e.g., pond brochure for other kids who will visit a site)
Literacy as a part of problem solving (e.g. parent comes in and needs help moving piano during unit on simple machines.)

4. Engaging students in rich discussions of text
See = questioning the author, instructional conversations – Goldberg 1992)
ETR – Experience-Text-Relationship

5. Building vocabulary and world knowledge
(More effective literacy teachers pay closer attention to vocabulary – research base for this claim.
CORI – concept oriented reading instruction ( — focuses on a conceptual theme in life science, engages student in real-world interactions and reading texts (informational, narrative and poetry), includes oral reading fluency practice, comprehension mini-lessons, guided reading, writing and independent reading – kids write an information book about the topic they are studying as outcome — written from portfolios gathered throughout unit. Emphasis on motivational support – includes collaboration, self-efficacy work, etc.) — Take one hour out of reading block and replace with CORI – kids score better on their reading tests. Wow.

One component – “idea circle” (think reading group). Organize kids around an idea as opposed to an individual book. (i.e., how do we get water in desert habitats?) – all kids are reading different texts organized around the idea. Shared goal in the circle leads to an outcome (i.e., present findings to another group)

Informational text repeats key vocabulary multiple times (vs. narrative).

(My apologies to Nell, as I needed to leave early in order to be ready for my session this morning.  To my students – I have handouts to share if you’d like…)


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