VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Click here to see a demonstration of the Reading Salad lesson by a real teacher.
Tanny McGregor's book brims with ideas, lessons, and projects that make abstract thinking visible and concrete for our kids, so they can undestand their thinking and think to undestand. The strategies described in this book are not merely reading strategies; they are thinking strategies. If we teach thinking strateges out of text before teaching them within, our kids just may have a more seamless tansition as they use and apply strategies flexibly in their reading.
—Stephanie Harvey, Coauthor of The Comprehension Toolkit
After I finished my earlier (January 4th) blog entry, I began googling "comprehension" as I so often do to see where it would lead me. Well...it led me to Tanny McGregor's Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading and a reminder that although I own Tanny's book I had never read it.
So that's how I spent the rest of the afternoon...reading through this compelling book about the importance of making our comprehension strategy instruction concrete, with the help of onions, lint brushes, salad bowls, etc. (I know it sounds crazy but the ideas are actually quite clever, and I can see how they would be helpful to students).
So, in light of my concern expressed in my earlier blog that we're making kids work too hard by keeping ideas and information abstract, is this find serendipitous or what?
Tanny writes: "...I'm using concrete objects to craft 'launching lessons'; lessons that unleash new paths of thinking, lessons that support lots of student-to-student talk, lessons that can be referred to again and again, lessons that kids will remember and think about long after the school day is through." And she does just that.
I recommend you give this book and its ideas a try.
Comprehension Connections has a constellation of qualities that makes it a perfect choice for a professional book club book, especially a first book club of the year. It is:
- Short - only 107 pages. There is lots of white space, and there are plenty of photographs. A teacher flipping through the book won't be frightened off.
- Written in teacher-friendly language - no dictionaries required.
- Full of ready-to-use instructional activities. These include new classroom-tested activities for teaching inferring, visualizing, synthesizing, questioning, and accessing schema.
“Comprehension Connections is one of those books brimming with original ideas that are not only fun to teach, but also highly effective.”
—Kim Yaris, reviewed at literacy-builders.com
This book is so amazing. I have a large plastic container filled with every idea from the book.
—Nancy Ehrlich, Third Grade Teacher, Ambler, PA
Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor was a turning point in my strategy teaching. Today we looked at paintings by Vermeer to practice our questioning skills, amazing questions from