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As I’ve been participating in Parent-Teacher Conferences this week, I’ve seen a few common areas where many of my students need to grow. When it comes to reading, most of my first graders are already great word callers/decoders. They have a large bank of strategies to use to figure out words they don’t know and have become quick at solving them. While I celebrate their accomplishments in decoding, I am struggling to help many of my readers slow down their reading enough to truly comprehend the text. They seem to have the idea in their head that good readers read fast and lots! They are focused more on the quantity of their reading as opposed to the quality of their reading. I wish I could whip out a pen and write them a reading speeding ticket on the spot!
When I instruct these students in a small reading group or we engage in a reading conference and I hear them read aloud, they sound great and I am quick to think, “Wow! What a great reader!” Then as we begin to discuss what they have just read, they have trouble answering my questions with much detail and tend to lean on their own background knowledge to answer the questions. Their speed reading is not allowing them to really comprehend the text. I’ve tried a few strategies to help these students understand that readers read to gain information and be entertained, not just to say “I’ve read that book!” I hold my students accountable for going back into the text to “prove” their answers to my questions and give detailed reading responses. While they seem to slow down when I’m working with them, I often observe them reading too quickly the next day when they are back on their own.
What strategies or ideas do you have to help these speed deamons slow down and make sure they are comprehending what they read?