Chapter eleven is all about how to build comprehension strategies. I had actually read this chapter a while ago when I was working on my mini-unit. I took a few of my ideas from this chapter for my unit so I’ve had a chance to put some of them into practice. First, though, the chapter gives many, many strategies for how to build comprehension and ways to focus a lesson on that. Many strategies is about predicting, organizing events, picking out main ideas, and summarizing. One strategy that is suggested in the chapter and which I used for my unit is the Somebody Wanted But So chart. Students pick a main character (somebody), say what they wanted, but what happened so they couldn’t have it, so what did they do. When I used this with a group of students it went over pretty well. They were able to pick out main characters and fill in the chart. One thing that came up, though, that might have confused students is that there were many possible answers for the same character. When you have a more in depth book, it is important to help students figure out what is MOST important about the character.
Other strategies that the book talked about have a lot to do with different ways of summarizing. If students are able to summarize the book well, then it is a sign that they are comprehending what they read. It is the goal of the teacher to get students to the point where they can give a summary of the story by only including the main points necessary to the story. Using different kinds of graphic organizers, appropriate level material, and prompts to get students thinking on the right track will help with comprehension.