It is no secret that reading is an essential life and learning skill. Because students will be delving into important municipal issues, they will be exposed to a variety of news articles that can be quite sophisticated. Helping students navigate their way through complex issues takes a bit of extra reading support and guidance. I have designed a few skill development exercises to help them sharpen their comprehension skills. As you will see in the photos below, students combed through an article and highlighted vocabulary and underlined "terms" that were challenging. Together as a class, we discussed various strategies that can be applied when we come up against challenging words or terms.
The top 3 "word attack" strategies we discussed were:
1. Investigating the word for clues as to its meaning
2. Using the context around the word to discern its meaning
3. Covering the word to see what other words would make sense
To figure out what specific terms mean, we actually took a different approach and employed our summarizing skills. If students came upon a name of an expert quoted in the article, we decided that it was best not to expend too much energy trying to figure out every word of their position. So, rather than trying to remember that "Cheryl Herpenger with Calgary Community Standards at the city, discussed the #buttfree campaign on the Homestretch" had some opinions on the issue, we summarized that Cheryl was a person with an expert opinion on the issue. For some of the more simpler terms, it was just a matter of combining the meanings of each word that made up the term.
These are the types of strategies that will be practiced this year. As we conduct research into various topics, it is vital that students are equipped with the reading skills and strategies that allow them to construct deep and accurate meaning.
Here are some photos of today's practice assignment: