Since 2016, all our teachers have been, or
are in the process of being, trained in Reading to Learn strategies developed
by Dr. David Rose. Each teacher receives
regular coaching in the teaching of Reading to Learn. The strategies have been
implemented across the school curriculum and are aligned with our pedagogical
framework, Marzano’s Art and Science of Teaching.In R2L, teachers support the whole class to do tasks that are above the independent levels of all students. They guide the class to read and write texts that weaker students could not read or write on their own, and top students could not read or write with the level of comprehension or skill that the teacher provides.
In the primary school, the strategies support all children to engage in reading and writing stories for pleasure, to learn from reading and writing factual texts, and to evaluate texts, issues and points of view in their reading and writing. They use texts in the subject areas that the class is studying, to teach skills in reading and writing, at the same time as learning the content of each subject area. They support all students to read and write texts at the same high level, rather than giving them texts at ‘ability levels.’ In this way, students are better prepared for secondary school.
The strategies are presented in four stages:
- Preparing for reading - The teacher prepares students to understand a text before reading it.
- Detailed reading - The teacher guides students to read the text themselves, and to find key information.
- Note-making - The students make notes from the information they have read.
- Joint construction - The teacher guides the class to write a new text, using the notes they have made.
1. Preparing for reading
Preparing for reading enables all students in a class to follow a text as it is read aloud without struggling to understand what it is about. This includes two steps.
The first step is to give students the background knowledge they need to understand the text. This could be knowledge studied in previous lessons or it might be a new topic.
The second step is to tell students what the text says in a way that all students can understand. The teacher does not need to explain every word, but gives a brief summary of each section of the text.
The text is then read aloud, either by the teacher, or by students taking turns to read. The teacher leads the class in discussing important points as the text is read and after it is read.
The teacher will have had to read the text before the lesson to find out what background knowledge students will need, and to prepare the summary of the text.
It is recommended that initially 15–20 minutes be spent in every lesson preparing and reading with the class. If this is done, students will be helped to read the curriculum independently.
2. Detailed reading
After reading and discussing, the teacher guides the class to find information that they will use later for writing. Students highlight or underline each key point.
Long or difficult texts can be read one paragraph at a time. The teacher guides students to mark two or three key points in each paragraph. A lot of text can be read quickly using this paragraph-by-paragraph reading.
With short texts, the teacher guides students to mark key information in each sentence. This takes time, but it is a very effective way to help all students develop the skill to understand what they read.
If detailed reading is done every week, all students will rapidly learn to read difficult texts with understanding.
In note-making, students scribe notes on the board from the information that they marked in the text. Students take turns to scribe notes on the board as other students tell them what to write and how to spell the words. As the notes go up on the board students write them in their books.
During note-making, the class can practise the spelling and pronunciation of words. The teacher can also discuss the meanings of words. This is a very powerful way to improve vocabulary and spelling skills.
4. Joint construction
In joint construction, the class writes a new text from the notes. The teacher guides the class to write each section of information in a new sentence. Once the class has constructed the sentence, it is written on the board either by the teacher or by students taking turns to write. As each sentence goes up on the board, students write it in their own books.
After writing a text together on the board, students practise writing the same kind of text themselves, either by using notes that the class has made together, or by reading and making notes independently.
Reprinted with permission from David Rose, from the NSW Board of Studies website.