Meaningful Reading Comprehension – students doing the work!


This is a year 2 boy’s attempt to infer the meaning of words in a non fiction book of his choosing. Both the teacher and I thought this a really good artefact to show his reading comprehension development.

The first column displays his attempts to pick up the vocabulary of the text ,which for the most part, are tier 3 or technical words. He has also identified if he can read the word (or not) with the comment (can’t say).

The second column shows his attempt to infer the meaning the word from the text. The guidelines for the activity don’t allow the use of a dictionary.

The third column is where he then confirms his guess usually by rereading the text. The teacher also makes a comment or provides clarification or even a challenge (notice the comment on ecology).

He also makes reference to the ZOC which is what the kids call the zone of confusion (where we really don’t know something or are puzzled as we don’t even understand the answer). It’s a really interesting space to metacognitively notice.

He was proud of his achievement and he will get one of my certificate of excellence awards at an upcoming whole school assembly. We reward both effort and achievement.

My point is showing this piece is how far have we come as teachers in extending student thought in our reading workshops. This wasn’t achieved using the former early years literacy model of rotations of different reading activities – this was a sustained effort over 45 minutes after a brief 10 minute minilesson on inferring by a, just turning 7-year-old, boy. He was challenging himself, one of his workshop goals was self management, he was metacognitive, able to articulate what strategy he was using, referencing his conclusions with page numbers and learning technical vocabulary.

Now that’s “students doing the work” as Elmore would say.