Our Favorite Reading Comprehension Strategy – SWBS

Our Favorite Reading Comprehension Strategy – SWBS

 

Is your child having difficulties with reading comprehension?  Need a reading comprehension strategy that helps your child understand what they have just read?

 

Well, try using the SWBS reading comprehension strategy. It is our favorite reading comprehension strategy.

 

Somebody – Wanted – But – So

 

The SWBS is a fantastic and easy to implement reading comprehension strategy that helps children understand plot elements such as conflicts and resolutions.  It also allows the child to summarize the elements of a story and develop the summary into a retelling of the story.  It can be used as a “during reading” or “after reading” strategy.  I also like to use it as a quick reading comprehension assessment with my students.

 

The SWBS reading comprehension strategy is basically a summarizing technique. Summarization requires a student to pull out the main idea, focus on key details, use key words and phrases, and break down the larger ideas.  Summarizing is an extremely difficult task for most students.  Many children require instruction and practice in summarizing before they are able to produce good oral and written summaries of text.  The SWBST strategy helps children first orally summarize what they have read and then put the summary down onto paper into paragraph form.  It works with both fiction and nonfiction text. So here is how it goes:

 

Somebody – Wanted – But – So

 

 

Procedure:

 

1.  Have your child read a story (independently or with help is fine)

2.  Write down the following:

 

Somebody…

Wanted…

But…

So…

 

3.  Fill in the sentences together with your child relating to the story that they just read.  Somebody relates to the character of the story.  Wants is the goal or motivation that the character exhibits.  But refers to the conflict in the story.  So is the resolution of the conflict.  Do it first orally then in written form.

 

4.  Have your child write out the sentences in a paragraph form.  Younger students can add just one sentence while older students can add detail with 1-3 sentences.

 

It is AWESOME – right?  The key to getting your child to memorize this summary form is through repetition.  Doing it just one time won’t work.  Doing it all year long – it will “stick.”  Good Luck and let me know how it goes…

 

boy reading

 

Learn more about the New PRIDE Reading Program

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Karina Richland, M.A. is the Founder and Director of PRIDE Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County.  Ms. Richland is a certified reading and learning disability specialist.   Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications.  You can reach her by email at karina@pridelearningcenter.com or visit the PRIDE Learning Center website at: www.pridelearningcenter.com

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Comprehension Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities

Reading Comprehension Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities

Many students with Learning Disabilities process information differently.  They may be unaware of simple reading comprehension strategies that strong readers use automatically, such as rereading passages they do not understand.

 

Students with learning disabilities typically recall less about stories they have read and cannot easily identify the important information in them.  Here are a few reading comprehension strategies that can be used either at home or in the classroom to help students with learning disabilities comprehend and understand text.

 

Retelling

 

Retelling is a frequently used process that involves asking students to recall and restate the events in a story after they have read it or heard it.  Teachers or parents should first model the different parts of the story for the student.  For example, starting a story by saying “once upon a time,” and then prompting the student to retell the story by asking:

 

  • Who is the story about?
  • Where does the story take place?
  • What is the main character’s problem?
  • How does the main character try to solve the problem?
  • How does the story end?

 

Theme Scheme

 

The use of a theme scheme during explicit instruction in reading comprehension will help students transfer the strategies they learn to novel texts.  The Theme Scheme includes the following steps:

 

  • Introduction and pre-reading discussion:  The teacher defines the concept of THEME and introduces the background of the specific story for that lesson.

 

  • Reading the story:  The teacher reads the story aloud, stopping to ask questions designed to encourage the student to process the theme.

 

  • Discussion:  The teacher and student discuss the following questions:

 

  1. Who is the main character?
  2. What is the main character’s problem?
  3. What did the main character do about the problem?
  4. What happened next?
  5. Was that good or bad?
  6. Why was it good or bad?
  7. The main character learner that her or she should _____________.
  • Apply the theme to other story examples and to real life experiences:  The teacher introduces another story that provides another instance of the same theme.  The teacher and student discuss the example using the above 7 questions plus:

 

  1. When is it important to ________?
  2. In what situation is it easy/difficult to ________?

 

  • Review: The teacher reviews the above questions and asks the student to think about other examples.

 

A follow up activity: The teacher leads a follow-up enrichment activity, such as writing, drawing, discussion, or role- playing.

 

 

 Predicting

 

In this activity, the teacher reads a story to the student or has them read the story aloud.  The teacher stops the reader before getting to the story’s resolution.  Then the teacher asks the student to predict what comes next in the unfinished story.  Another option is that the teacher can provide a list of possible endings from which the student can choose.

 

Cloze Activity

 

The teacher removes a portion of text from the middle of a story and then has students fill in the missing information.   To optimize the benefits of this approach, it is valuable to discuss the types of information that would be anticipated.  For example, the teacher might remove the description of the problem faced by the characters in the story.  The teacher then could show the student a story map and then ask the student what aspect of the map is not obvious in the story.  The student can brainstorm possible problems that would make sense, given the other information presented in the story.

 

 

The above strategies are designed to enhance reading comprehension and have been used to teach students with learning disabilities, with promising results.  Students struggling with reading comprehension can achieve gains, including the ability to transfer what they have learned to novel texts, when they are given highly structured and explicit instruction in reading comprehension.

 

Learn more about the New PRIDE Reading Program

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Karina Richland, M.A. is the Founder of PRIDE Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County.  Ms. Richland is a certified reading and learning disability specialist.   Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications.  You can visit the PRIDE Learning Center website at: www.pridelearningcenter.com

 

 

Reading Comprehension Help for Parents

Reading Comprehension Help for Parents

For some children, reading comprehension help is just a frustrating, pointless exercise of reading words on a page. How can we help our children to become active, engaged and competent readers? This is not something that comes naturally to most children. It is something that needs to be taught and practiced. Here are a few strategies and techniques parents  might use with their children for reading comprehension help.

Build Background Knowledge

The first step in reading comprehension help is connecting the child with the text.  Before reading a text help the child build background knowledge. If the text is about the Himalayan Mountains, consider showing the child a visual representation of the terrain, landscape, etc. Ask them about the similarities and differences between the pictures they see and their own city and town. Building this background with information is critical in helping the children visualize what they are reading while they are reading it.

Teach the Student to Visualize as they Read

The next step in reading comprehension help is learning to visualize.  During the reading, stop and ask the child questions relating to the reading. Ask them what did they see while they were reading and what did it look like, sound like, etc. By asking questions during the reading, you are giving the child a purpose for reading as well as focusing his or her attention on what they are reading.

Use Graphic Organizers

Another important element in reading comprehension help is using a multi-sensory approach.  During the reading, have the child use a graphic organizer to help set the visualization of the text. For example, they could compare two characters from the story and decide how they are similar and different using their organizer. This keeps the child engaged and active, as well as gives them a purpose as they are reading through the text.

Discuss the Reading both Verbally and Written

Once the reading is complete, it is important for the parent to monitor the child to determine whether reinforcement is necessary. This can be accomplished through a variety of different activities – both orally and written.

• Create a story map with the child. Draw a vertical diagram with spaces for the child to fill in the names of the main characters, the story’s setting, and the main problem in the story, a few events, the resolution and the ending.
• Have the child retell the story or text in their own words.
• Write the words Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How on chart paper. Have the child answer these questions as they pertain to the story.
• Ask the child to draw parallels to what they have just read, and something they have read in the past.

 

A strong reader is not just someone who can read anything, read it fast and read it well. A strong reader is engaged and active in the reading. This reader therefore comprehends the text in many various skill levels. This is not something that usually comes naturally; this is something that needs to be taught. Motivate and guide your children through comprehension, make it fun, and make it lasting.

 

Learn more about the New PRIDE Reading Program

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

picture of me

Karina Richland, M.A. is the Founder of PRIDE Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County. Ms. Richland is a certified reading and learning disability specialist.   Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications. You can visit the PRIDE Learning Center website at: www.pridelearningcenter.com

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