Shifting Phases's Reviews > I Read It, but I Don't Get It: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers

I Read It, but I Don't Get It by Cris Tovani
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Mar 15, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: reading-comprehension

Readable, well-organized, persuasive, concrete... I loved this book. Unfortunately it is a giant catalogue of things I now realize I should be doing in my classroom, but was oblivious to. On practically every page I had a face-palm moment, realizing about my students, "oh, THAT's what they're doing." I knew nothing about teaching reading, but now I have some ideas and a bit of insight. My students have no problem reading newspaper articles or novels. But when trying to read their textbooks, all but one or two are at sea. Even when they know all the words, they can't make meaning out of them. I don't have the answers, but this book pointed me in the direction of a ton of questions. And they're not just questions about reading comprehension. I get the feeling they're about comprehension in general; in other words, some of this material is about teaching critical thinking and intentional learning.

Some things I want to hang on to for later:

"Word callers have mastered decoding... but often don't do well with tasks that require them to use the words they read... These readers feel powerless because the only strategy they have for gaining meaning is sounding out words." (p. 15)

"...he expects meaning to arrive immediately after he reads the words. He doesn't know good readers construct meaning. One day in class, Tim interrupts my lesson to accuse me of wasting everyone's time. He isn't interested in historical background knowledge. ... Tim spend the majority of the semester trying to change the way I taught. ... When confusion set in, Tim thought it was the teacher's job to fix it." (p. 16)

Rumelhart's Cueing systems that readers use to understand text: graphophonic, lexical, syntactic, semantic, schematic, pragmatic. (p. 18)

Why they can't make meaning: "Don't have the comprehension strategies, Don't have sufficient background knowledge, Don't recognize organizational patterns, Lack purpose." (p. 19)

Learning to find the purpose of the reading, from different points of view (an exercise) (p. 26)

How to model reading (p. 27)

How to mark text (p. 29)

Self-assessment: How to find your own confusion (p. 30)
- Pseudolearning: "they didn't recognize confusion until they had to do something with the information." (p. 33)


How to get unstuck (p. 46)
- how students conceal their lack of strategies by parroting the "right" answers (p. 50)
- Tovani's strategies (p. 51)

Double-entry diary note-taking system (p. 31 )

How to design a guided worksheet for a particular thinking strategy (p. 32)

I don't know anything about the topic (p. 67)
- Find connections to your experience: connecting to a movie isn't "cheating"! (p. 71)

If students are making connections just to finish the assignment, and not to improve their understanding of the reading (p. 73)

Making predictions (p. 75, 109)

Apathy (p. 80)
- is there an opportunity for them to choose the questions? If not, don't be surprised that they don't care.

Teaching students to question (p. 83)

Gradual release of responsibility (p. 84)

Teaching how to use sticky notes (p. 89)

Deciding when "rereading" is not going to help. (p. 93)

Substantiating your thinking (p. 98, 105)
- and why "opinions can't be wrong" might be false.
- what kind of evidence could support your point? Go looking for it. Now you are reading with purpose.
- What else could this mean? (build a counterargument)

All this thinking is slowing me down (p. 108)

Previewing (p. 109)

"Whenever an activity fails, it is because I haven't done enough modelling." (p. 82)




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Reading Progress

March 15, 2011 – Started Reading
March 15, 2011 – Shelved
March 15, 2011 – Finished Reading
June 8, 2011 – Shelved as: reading-comprehension

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