It is October, and Mr. Dupree, a sixth-grade science teacher at Washington Middle School, is growing concerned about his students’ performance. Although they generally seem interested in science and participate in group projects and lab assignments, lately he has begun to notice that many of his students are reluctant to take part in class discussions after an independent reading assignment. Additionally, many perform poorly on the pop quizzes that cover those independent assignments. Most of Mr. Dupree’s students read fluently when asked to do so in class, but some of them have difficulty grasping main ideas and are frequently unable to answer higher-order questions about what they’ve read. Having spoken with his colleagues and independently researched possible explanations for his students’ performance, Mr. Dupree concludes that many of his students are having trouble understanding the science textbook.
During the course of his research, Mr. Dupree also learns that reading comprehension skills are not routinely taught beyond the third grade. He wonders whether he should teach reading comprehension strategies to his students. As a science teacher, Mr. Dupree has mixed feelings about doing so, and anyway he has no idea where he would even begin.
Here’s Your Challenge:
What are some reasons to teach reading comprehension strategies in content-area classes?
What can teachers do to improve their students’ reading comprehension?
How can reading comprehension strategies be implemented in content-area classes?