Narrator: Meet Charlotte Garcia, a ninth-grade teacher at Thurgood Marshall High
Charlotte Garcia: For the past couple of years, I’ve been teaching remedial reading. I have all kinds of kids in my class. Some with disabilities, some without. Some read at around the seventh-grade level, some below the fourth. Together, they demonstrate a wide diversity of reading challenges.
I feel like my group this year is beginning to make a little progress. They’re making some small steps in comprehension and fluency, although I think there’s still a lot of room to improve. One thing I’ve noticed about my kids: They seem to have a terribly hard time with main ideas and naming the important characters in the stories and articles we read. For instance, we recently took a test on a novel we’ve been reading. I noticed that a pretty big number of my students missed a question asking what the main character’s motivation was in a certain key scene. Their answers were just all over the place. Later we talked about this in class, and I began to realize that my students had missed the question because they didn’t really know who the main character was to begin with.
I’d like my students to be able to discern “big picture” kinds of things about a piece of writing—who are the most important characters and what is the main idea?—but I’m not sure where to begin.
Here’s your Challenge:
What characteristics might Mrs. Garcia look for in a reading approach?
What types of activities can Mrs. Garcia use to increase her students’ reading skills?