7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read It and Get It
Susan Zimmerman describes the 7 keys to comprehension; the steps that proficient readers use in constructing a deep and sound understanding of the text they read. This book is written for parents and teachers. It has practical ideas for parents as well as teachers of young children and middle school.
She refers to the two sides of reading and how traditionally the visible side (decoding) was taught and even today the invisible side (comprehension) is frequently missed.
Visible side of reading:Sounding out or decoding words is part of the reading puzzle but falls short of real reading. If children don’t understand what they read, they’re not really reading. If they don’t unlock meaning as they read, the words are boring babble and they will never read well or enjoy reading.
These are found under cues and conventions in the Saskatchewan ELA Curriculum
- Grade One Saskatchewan ELA Curriculum- Key Language Cues and Conventions for Grade 1(scroll down on link to table 5)
- Grade Two Saskatchewan ELA Curriculum- Key Language Cues and Conventions for Grade 2(scroll down on link to table 5)
- Grade Three Saskatchewan ELA Curriculum- Key Language Cues and Conventions for Grade 3(scroll down on link to table 5)
Invisible side of reading: Good readers use the following 7 Keys to unlock the invisible meaning:
- Background knowledge (schema)
- Creating mental images
- Determining importance
- Monitoring for meaning
In the 1980’s, researchers identified specific thinking strategies consistently used by proficient readers. Their findings stated that reading is actually an interactive process in which good readers engage in a constant internal dialogue with the text. The ongoing dialogue helps readers to understand and further elaborate on what they read. By identifying the process, the research gave important information as to how to teach children to read it and “get it”.
Readers must learn to use these comprehension strategies in tandem not in isolation to read well. Good readers use the same strategies whether they’re reading fiction or non-fiction.