Bursts and Bubbles

 This evening we had the opportunity to share our 2020 inquiries in 3 minute 'bursts'. It was a fantastic experience and I left feeling motivated to use many of the amazing interventions that my colleagues developed.

This was my presentation:

My inquiry has been focussed on reading, specifically supporting students to self-monitor their own understanding of a text. I noticed my students would often ‘zone out’ and lose focus when reading, particularly if they had read a few different texts in a lesson. 

To build a picture of my students needs I used running records, PAT data, student voice, observations and interviewed the students while they completed a short independent reading task.  This profiling confirmed that the students were not monitoring their understanding of a text; they might make sense of the text to begin with, but ignore information that contradicted their understanding later on. My students needed to learn to recognise when they were struggling to comprehend a text and to choose a strategy to support them. 

I then investigated my own teaching. I found that I was teaching a range of comprehension strategies, but I was not discussing when these strategies were best used. I also found that I wasn’t teaching my students to monitor their reading, or asking them to self reflect.

In response, I made time for self-reflection in my daily reading teaching. After reading a text, I would ask my students to reflect on how well they understood what they had read. We then discussed the parts that they struggled with such as unknown vocabulary, and how we could employ strategies to support these problems.

We also discussed how to catch yourself zoning out - are you thinking about what you are reading?We co-created a scale to support us to rate our understanding - my students would select a rating out of five and justify their choice. 

I got this idea after reading a range of studies that discussed the importance of teaching both comprehension strategies and self-regulation. I particularly liked Nash-Ditzel, 2014, as it illustrated how it is easy for students to get a totally wrong impression from a text, by trying to fill in the gaps themselves, without knowing to stop and employ a strategy. It was relatively easy to incorporate discussion about self-regulation into my existing reading programme. Particularly after we had become familiar with the scale.

However, a major limitation of my inquiry is that we actually swapped literacy classes for a full term. So with this and the lockdowns, I had about 8 weeks to apply my intervention, although I did continue with it online. As such, I have looked at the group of students who were consistently present over those 8 weeks to evaluate learning. Looking at their PAT results, 7/11 students achieved more than the expected 7 points of progress, with three making over 14 points of progress. Of the students who made less than expected progress, 3 /4 were already experiencing high results on the test. 

Due to the short time I had with my class this year, and the experience that we have all had with Covid. It is difficult to interpret these results. However, I do believe that they show promise as the students have made gains.

I think it is very worthwhile discussing self-monitoring strategies with students. It is not a major change to your current programme, but could make all the difference for your students as they read independently. I plan continue to this approach next year.


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