Gode lesere vet hva de leser om før de leser

Willingham: Reading Is Not a Skill--And Why This Is a Problem for the Draft National Standards

Today's guest is Psychology Professor Daniel Willingham of the University of Virginia, who researches learning and the brain. (Washingto Post swptember 2009)
By Daniel Willingham
A draft of the voluntary national standards for reading was just released, and at first glance the 18 standards sound quite sensible: students should be able to determine what a text says, make inferences from it, discern the most important ideas, and so forth.
Many of the standards boil down to this notion: "The student will be able to comprehend the text.” For the others, comprehension is a prerequisite.
The problem is that teachers and administrators are likely to read those 18 standards and to try to teach to them. But reading comprehension is not a “skill” that can be taught directly.

We tend to teach comprehension as a series of “reading strategies” that can be practiced and mastered. Unfortunately it really doesn’t work that way. The mainspring of comprehension is prior knowledge—the stuff readers already know that enables them to create understanding as they read.
Prior knowledge is vital to comprehension because writers omit information. For example, suppose you read “He just got a new puppy. His landlord is angry.” You easily understand the logical connection between those sentences because you know things about puppies (they aren’t housebroken), carpets (urine stains them) and landlords (they are protective of their property.)

The writer could have included all that information. The writer gambled that the reader would know about puppies, carpets and landlords. A writer who doesn’t assume some prior knowledge on the part of her readers will write very boring prose.
What happens if the reader doesn’t have the prior knowledge the writer assumed she had? The reader will be confused and comprehension breaks down.
This is exactly what happens for millions of poor readers. They can “read” (they can sound out the words on the page) but they can’t consistently comprehend. They read it, but they don’t “get it.”
Remarkably, if you take kids who score poorly on a reading test and ask them to read on a topic they know something about (baseball, say, or dinosaurs) all of a sudden their comprehension is terrific—better than kids who score well on reading tests but who don’t know a lot about baseball or dinosaurs.

In other words, kids who score well on reading tests are not really kids with good “reading skills.”
The kids who score well on reading tests are ones who know a lot about the world—they have a lot of prior knowledge about a wide range of things--and so that whatever they are asked to read about on the test, they likely know something about it.
(This is only true once kids have cracked the code of letters and sounds and can apply that translation fluently-- say, 5th grade and after.)
Can’t you teach kids how to reason about texts, and thereby wring the meaning out of it even if they don’t have the right prior knowledge?
To some extent, but it doesn’t seem to help as much as you might expect. For one thing, this sort of reasoning is difficult mental work. For another, it’s slow, and so it breaks up the flow of the story you’re reading, and the fun of the story is lost. Hoping that students without relevant prior knowledge will reason their way through a story is a recipe for creating a student who doesn’t like reading.

Oftentimes, knowledge gaps can’t be filled by a strategy.
For example, suppose you read this: “The Obama administration will announce a new policy Wednesday making it much more difficult for the government to claim that it is protecting state secrets when it hides details of sensitive national security strategies such as rendition and warrantless eavesdropping, according to two senior Justice Department officials.”
In this instance, the writer assumed that the reader knew the definitions of “rendition,” “warrantless wiretaps,” what a state secret might be, and the significance of the announcement coming from the executive branch of the government, at the least.
If you know those things, comprehension is effortless. What strategy is going to lead you to correct guesses?

I didn’t pick that sentence randomly. It was the first sentence of the lead story of The Washington Post on the day I’m writing this post. If we want students to be able to read a serious newspaper, they need prior knowledge.

How do students get prior knowledge? It accumulates through years of exposure to newspapers, serious magazines, books, conversations with knowledgeable people. It should also come from a content-rich curriculum in school.
Oddly enough, the new national standards actually say that. The standards documents lists “have a strong content base” as one of the things that college-ready readers tend to have.

But the standards themselves don’t recommend that we ensure that students “have a strong content base” as a way to ensure that they are good readers!
(A few months ago, I created a video called “Teaching Content Is Teaching Reading” that explains this. You can see it here on YouTube .
Instead, the standards document lists things that students ought to be able to do (summarize, find the main idea, etc.) that invite states, districts, and teachers to design curricula emphasizing practice in those skills.
The mistaken idea that reading is a skill—learn to crack the code, practice comprehension strategies and you can read anything—may be the single biggest factor holding back reading achievement in the country.
Students will not meet standards that way. The knowledge base problem must be solved.
By Valerie Strauss | September 28, 2009; 7:30 AM ET
Categories: Daniel Willingham , Learning , National Standards , Reading | Tags: Daniel Willingham, National Standards, Reading Share This: E-Mail | Technorati | Del.icio.us | Digg | Stumble Previous: Trachtenberg: New Year’s Greetings 5770
Next: CHECKING IT OUT, Part I: Reading on Paper or Screen--Which Is Better?

Pisa undersøkelsene kan lære oss mye om lesing.

Aviser serverer aktuelle tema hver dag. De er et godt utgangspunkt for læring og utvikling av kompetanse. Når det gjelder lesing av avisartikler, er det mest interessant å gå til det OECD skriver om bakgrunnen for Pisa-undersøkelsene i lesing. Der definereer de lesing, eller literacy og strukturerer arbeidet med å utvikle literacy i praksis.

Hvordan kan denne informasjonen brukes for å utvikle elevenes literacy gjennom bruk av online aviser? Lag oppgaver ( eksempler finnes også på nettet) med bakgrunn i følgende kunnskap fra OECD:

Tekst deles inn i to hovedgrupper:

Continuous text:

  • Narration(when), exposition (how), description (what), Argumentation (why) Instruction, documents & records, hypertext

Non-continous text:

  • Charts and graphics, tables, diagrams, maps, forms, information sheets, calls and advertisements, vochers, certificates
Printed text:
  • Clearly defined borders
Electronic text:
  • blurred borders

Lesing foregår i en prosess:

  • Retrieving information
  • Forming a broad general understanding
  • Developing an interpretation
  • Reflecting and evaluating the content of the text
  • reflecting and evaluating the form of the text

Lesing foregår i forskjellige situasjoner:

  • Private use
  • Public use
  • Occupational use
  • Educational use

Newspapewr article:
Interactive video games - such those played on the Nintendo Wii - may raise heart rate and provide exercise intensity levels high enough to meet federal physical activity guidelines, according to a pair studies presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's 56th Annual Meeting in Seattle.

The studies tested various Wii games to determine their energy requirements for college students and older adults, respectively. The college students played Wii boxing and tennis, and performed Wii Fit exercises, while the older adults only played Wii bowling.

For the college students, only Wii Boxing increased heart rate and VO2 levels enough to classify the activity as "moderate-intensity." Although that level meets basic physical activity recommendations set forth by the U.S. government and ACSM, study authors say it might still not be intense enough for some.

"If a college age student has average fitness, an interactive game like Wii Boxing will provide little stimulus to improve aerobic capacity," said Elizabeth DiRico, M.S., the study's lead researcher. "If someone has a high level of fitness and is training or trying to increase their aerobic capacity even more, they're going to have to do something beyond playing these games. However, this could be a way for sedentary people to get started with exercise and also provides those fit individuals with the opportunity to increase their overall daily physical activity."

Conversely, in the older adults study, Wii Bowling significantly increased heart rate in participants, as well as boosted mood and helped them feel refreshed and energized.

"Older adults often have a difficult time starting a fitness routine later in life," said Lucas Willoughby, ACSM Certified Health/Specialist, who co-authored the study with Petra Schuler, Ph.D. "Active game-playing might help them see that exercise isn't about just hitting the treadmill. It can be fun and socially enjoyable, too."

ACSM guidelines support the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that adults participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, an amount that can easily be achieved in 30-minute segments five days a week.

American College of Sports Medicine