In author Dan Feigelson's new book, Reading Projects Reimagined, he shows us how conference-based, individual reading projects help students learn to think for themselves. Feigelson raises an important question about the larger goal of reading instruction: while it’s our job as reading teachers to introduce students to new ideas and comprehension strategies, shouldn’t we also teach them to come up with their own ideas? In today's blog, Feigelson looks at how a reader makes meaning.
Coming up with your own ideas
In order to sustain comprehension and stay interested in longer and more complex texts, most readers go through some version of the following three-step process:
• First, we notice something worth thinking about.
• Then, we keep track of it as we read.
• Periodically, we stop to reflect on it. We think about what we have learned, we make connections, change, or add to our original idea. And sometimes we discard our line of thinking and replace it with a different, more interesting one. Whichever way it goes, our ideas at the end are not the same as our ideas at the beginning.
This last step is the biggest shift for most student readers. Children seldom realize that they are responsible not just for thinking as they read, but also for their thoughts changing and developing along the way. So if this is what a skilled reader does in his or her head to make meaning—if it is in fact an authentic, independent reading experience—it follows that a teacher would want to spend time in reading class teaching students these steps.