The information below is a summary of the research findings by the TXLS group.
In reading, Reading Nonfiction by Beers & Probst (2016), authors Beers and Probst state that kids must look deeper at text, so that they can think critically about text and make connections to develop real-world application (Beers & Probst, 2016, p. 11). Students may have a superficial understanding of inference and concrete strategies; therefore, Beers and Probst suggest using key instructional strategies that can be implemented. Using Beers’ and Probst’s Notice and Note Signposts, students can go deeper in the text with structure and purpose.
The questioning stance that the students can use can be the following:
- “What surprised you?”
- “What did the author already think you knew?”
- “What changed, challenged, or confirmed what you already knew?”
As suggested in Notice and Note by Beers & Probst (2012), using signposts like “Contrasts and Contradictions,” “Extreme or Absolute Language,” and/or “Word Gaps” can help students narrow their thinking prior to reading. In combination, using fix-up strategies like utilizing anchor chart support can aid critical thinking (Beers and Probst, 2013, p. 42).
Students are able to critically read the text and make personal connections.
Beers and Probst also believe that student choice helps to create meaningful connections with text and purpose. If students speak, listen, and see themselves through the text, critical reading can take place (Beers and Probst, 2013, p. 60).
Through students' evaluation of their own enjoyment of a text, a deeper understanding of the author’s purpose in writing the text and applicable conclusions will result organically (Beers, 2013). Readers should be able to use their own prior knowledge about their lives, community, and world in order to decode and break down a text they may not have traditionally been able to understand.
Diving into text involves an organic approach so that students internalize what they have read. Beers and Probst state, “Meaning is created not purely and simply from the words on the page, but from the transaction with those words that takes place in the reader’s mind” (Beers & Probst, 2016, p. 35).
Students should utilize the development of their inferring skills by diving into the text more than once in order to derive meaning. Beers stated that this approach “helps students recognize key structural components. Students are taught to identify places in the text that reveal a contrast or a contradiction” (Beers & Probst, 2016, pg. 29). Beers and Probst validate that this strategy leads students to “always have something to notice” (Beers & Probst, 2016, p. 20).
The question is whether or not students will actually internalize the information. In Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor (2007) instruction must be tied to a visual scaffold.
McGregor states that metacognition involves students being able to experience or see a situation in order for them to believe it in context (McGregor, 2007, p. 17). The author explains that tools such as Venn diagrams, sketching, and visual icon development are all effective tools to aid student understanding (McGregor, 2007, p. 18). When students thought about their thinking, students were able to link thoughtful suggestions that helped them see their learning.
When students were more intentional, they became more aware of the text they prepared to read. McGregor pointed out that kids should know that all words, sentences, or paragraphs are not created equal: “Some carry more weight than others. These students could begin to separate the fact from the fluff” (McGregor, 2007, p. 52).
By providing appropriate scaffolds alongside the reading process and by utilizing authentic (real-world)/choice-driven learning opportunities, research indicates that students can elicit effective reading applications to their lives. Then, this repeated instructional practice can create an imprint that will be a catalyst for life-long reading application.