This semester, students in READ 6310 Children’s and Adolescent Literature were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Jennifer Farias

Reading to young children provides the foundation to create a love for reading.   I strongly agree that children that are read to by their parents have a higher reading performance as opposed to those parents who don’t read to them. Children need to be exposed to a rich filled literacy environment in order to be successful readers. It is crucial that we emerge our students into literacy at a young age if we want them to be successful and productive. Literacy helps children expand their vocabulary and acquire new terminology. Children that are exposed to reading at a young age should obtain a desire to read later in life.

I believe reading books to children during read alouds is a wonderful experience that nourishes literacy development. Parents and educators can help facilitate the child and relate the events in the story to real life situations in their lives. This makes the child to make a connection to the text and it is easier for the child to comprehend the material.

Creating a full, rich literacy environment stimulates children’s imagination. Read alouds promote children to learn to visualize the stories. I also believe that allotting from twenty to thirty minutes daily will result in gains in both reading comprehension and oral language. Exposure to storybooks has proven that it develops children’s knowledge and ability to comprehend.

As a classroom teacher I encourage and promote literacy in my classroom daily. As a thinking map trainer, I make every effort to motivate and simplify the use of graphic organizers daily. This past week my students read the story Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis, which allowed them to use the opportunity to utilize graphic organizers in conjunction with thinking maps. Thinking maps provide that   visual tool which students can use to simplify and organize the ideas to enhance learning.

???????????????????????????????I have some examples of student work that I would like to share. The first example is the Flow Map which students are able to organize the story in sequence: beginning, middle, and end. They are required to write and illustrate their thoughts at this time.



???????????????????????????????Another example that was created by my students was the Multi-Flow Map. The Multi-Flow Map helps the students identify thecauses and effects in a particular story.




???????????????????????????????My final example is the Bubble Map in which students describe a main character using adjectives.At this pointstudents will require to add textual evidence and justification as to why they used those particular adjectives.



I have seen firsthand that graphic organizers can help students better comprehend their reading assessments. The goal is to have students attain a love for reading and read for pleasure.

I am a firm believer that students who are exposed to literature are likely to supersede than those with a limited exposure to reading material.

Helping Young Children Improve Comprehension of Information Texts

This semester in READ 6310 students were asked to contribute a post to our blog.

By Ashely M. Clark

As children go from lower elementary grades to upper elementary grades, reading and text changes dramatically. In my opinion, the transition from second grade to third grade is a drastic change for many children and their parents. Children are no longer learning to read but are now reading to learn. As a third grade teacher, I have had many experiences where students feel overwhelmed and parents are wonder what happened to their child’s reading ability from second to third grade; where they were having success in reading and now see a decline.

 In this situation, what is necessary to understand is that, at this grade level, students reading tasks change. Students are assigned tasks in which they have to analyze information, whereas in most cases students do not have the prior knowledge to make connections to text, they do not have the reading ability to decode the vocabulary or they do not how to comprehend the terminology.

 Informational texts carry real information and most often have a structure different from that of a narrative. Timelines, graphs, directions can be key features in informational text. Within both genres of literature, students use skills such as sequence, listing, compare and contrast or cause and effect. Although readers at this grade level have had experience with these skills, they have difficulty relating these skills to informational text.

 In order to build comprehension of informational texts there are simple strategies that can be used with children to aid in their understanding and reading ability. Three strategies that can be utilized are the KWL Chart, Modeled Think-Aloud and Think-Pair-Share.




K-What I Think I Know

W- What I Know

L-What I Want To Learn





Within a KWL Chart, students are listing from general details to specific details. Students can write individually, in pairs or a group. K (What I think I know) is a pre-reading strategy to get the students thinking about their literature.  W (What I think I know) is important because students can relate their prior knowledge to their reading. This can be done at a specific section of the text that introduces new information. Have students stop and write their reactions and talk about it. L (What I want to learn) is done at the end of reading. Students analyze their new knowledge of the subject matter and wonder about other related topics of interest they would like to explore. 

 Think Aloud

MH900445118My personal favorite! I have seen this work wonders for my students and it is very easy to do. This is a great strategy to share with parents as well. The Think Aloud strategy is a modeled strategy of how a skilled reader makes sense of a text. While reading expository texts create intentional stops at certain points to summarize text, paraphrase, predict, question, and relate prior knowledge to the text ALOUD. Let the students hear how a reader thinks, speaks and relates. As the teacher models thinking aloud while reading, children will begin to as well.





MH900433934Think-Pair-Share is a reading strategy that can be used sporadically when reading. When reading informational texts, create intentional stops throughout the text and incorporate this strategy by asking a question. Have students think to themselves about the question, pair up with a classmate, and share their ideas. With this strategy students can gain better comprehension of the text and learn new insights about the text. 

Using Children’s Literature to Teach Comprehension Strategies

This post is written by a student enrolled in READ 6310 Children’s and Adolescent Literature. Each student is required to contribute one post this semester.

By Olga

Helping children with comprehension and awakening them to the wonderful world of books can be challenging but not impossible.  Students come to our classrooms with different experiences as well as circumstances.  Therefore, our attitudes toward reading can impact their reading habits.  As educators we get to see our students at different reading levels.  Although some of us might get students that are reading on level, there are also cases in which we get students that are struggling.  Struggling readers are not only reading below grade level, but they also lack the skills of a fluent reader.  That is, a student that is reading below grade level struggles with phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension.  As their teachers, it is sad to see how some of them get turned off and exhibit inappropriate behaviors such as reading very little to try to hide their lack of fluency and comprehension.  Comprehension can be a challenging skill to acquire.  This is especially true when the text they are reading is not meaningful to them.  Therefore, some teachers can also find it stressful to be able to apply the appropriate teaching method that will allow them to differentiate and meet those students’ needs.  However, it is our responsibility as their teachers to make every effort to address their literacy needs.  Although fluency is an important aspect in reading, it is also important that we teach our students to comprehend, or understand the meaning, of the text.  The question is how can we teach this skill in a way that is meaningful and engaging to our students? 

Children’s books without a doubt, lend themselves to teach comprehension strategies to our students and what better way than to have them apply those strategies through the use of engaging titles.  Therefore, it is important to find and use children’s books that are appropriate and appealing to the students.  Although it may seem difficult, we can also expose our students to reading strategies that promote higher order thinking skills such as inferring, summarizing, and synthesizing among others.  We can definitely do this even with wordless books as well as picture book stories.  These books can be sorted into categories by genre, topic, theme, and guided reading levels.  Creating a rich literacy environment with inspirational children’s books can build the comprehension skills and confidence students need to become independent readers who love to read.

 The link below provides book selections that can be used to teach several of the comprehension strategies that will help students become active, successful readers: