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Text Comprehension Practices for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Part 2


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Title: Text Comprehension Practices for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Part 2

Text Comprehension Practices for Students who are
Deaf or Hard of Hearing Part 2
  • Susan R. Easterbrooks
  • Georgia State University
  • Part 2 of 2 presentations on text comprehension
    for the Join Together recommended practices

Strategies to Use Prior to Reading
  • Preteaching/Prelearning Vocabulary and Grammar
  • a. Old standby requires teachers assessment
    of students skills relative to difficulty of the
    text, specific learning objective, and teachers
    awareness of students prior knowledge. Sources
    today suggest semantic webs and maps instead.
  • b. Graphic organizers such as story maps and
    thinking skills maps
  • c. Semantic webs and maps
  • d. Semantic feature analysis

e. Students need to learn to skim for
unfamiliar words and to search out meanings. f.
Use Bridge, Winograd, and Haleys (1983) program
for teaching basic sight words to beginning
readers using predictable books and language
experience stories. g. Also read the following
for up-to-date information on how children learn
vocabulary. Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R. M.
(Eds.) (in press). Action meets word How
children learn verbs. New York, NY Oxford
University Press. Golinkoff, R. M.,
Hirsh-Pasek, K., Akhtar, N., Bloom, L., Hollich,
G., Smith, L., Tomasello, M., Woodward, A.
(2000). Becoming a word learner A debate on
lexical acquisition .  New York City, NY  Oxford
University Press.
  • Activating Prior Knowledge (or Building
    Background Knowledge in the absence of prior
  • a. Build background ideas, concepts, principles
  • b. Show, don't tell. Use
  • - Demonstrations
  • - Multi-media
  • - Graphics
  • c. Teach students to ask questions to connect
    topic to their own experiences K-W-L (What I
    Know. What I Want to Know. What I Learned)
  • d. Use anticipation guides.

  • e. Teach students to use firsthand and hands-on
    activities to activate prior knowledge (e.g.,
    what a video, ask an expert)
  • f. Read related materials (e.g., trade books,
    reference books, maps, CDs, other library
    sources, etc.)
  • g. Use outside resources, trips and speakers
  • h. Tell about topic from your experience
  • i. Use any combination of the above!

3. Understanding Your Purpose for Reading
  • Who asked me to read this?
  • Did this person tell me why?
  • Did I ask why?
  • What kind of material is it? (textbook,
    narrative story, rules and regulations,
    instructional manual, etc.)
  • What am I supposed to know about when I have
    finished reading?

  • Asking any Questions Printed at the End of the
    Chapter, if Applicable
  • a. Are there questions at the end of the
  • b. Do I have any written questions from the

5. Observing, Reviewing, Discussing Pictures,
Titles, Captions, etc. to Aid in Comprehension
  1. What does the title tell me about the book?
  2. Do I know anything about the author? What does
    this tell me?
  3. What is the structure of the piece? Chapters?
    Lots of pictures?
  4. What can I figure out from looking at the
  5. Are there any captions, and what are they about?
  6. What do my friends know about the pictures,
    captions, etc?
  7. What can I do to find out more about the title,
    pictures, captions, etc.

6. Using Prediction and Inference Based on
Activation of Prior Knowledge.
  • Teach students the difference between predicting
    and guessing.

Prediction Guessing
Based on cues or clues in the story. (Goldilocks is hungry, so shell try the porridge.) Based on a logical order or sequence (what should come next). (Likely that next she will sit in Baby Bears chair because she has already tried the other two.) Guess can be related to cue or clue but not logically. (Goldilocks has been walking and wants to call her mother, so she goes inside to use the phone.) Misses pattern or logical order. (Goldilocks doesnt like porridge so she will go to the refrigerator.)
  • Use the following deafed.net resources to help
    your students learn prediction skills

7. Using Summarization Skills (what do you think
the story is going to be about)
  • Brainstorm as many things as you can guess about
    the story. Put these on 3 X 5 cards or on
    sentence strips.
  • Sort the cards that seem to go together.
  • Re-sort these piles into big ideas and little
  • Look at the cards and decide the main topic of
    the big ideas.
  • Decide the sequence of the big ideas.
  • Summarize what might be in the story, telling the
    big ideas in order with supporting information
    from the little ideas.

8. Using Card Arrangement
This is a teacher-directed activity in which the
teacher does 7 and gives the student the summary
cards as a tool for guiding the reading.
  • 9. Using Anticipation Guides (usually used with
    expository text)
  • Teacher give students short true/false assessment
    of their knowledge of the topic about which they
    will read.
  • b. Students fill out the quiz
  • c. Class discusses answers. Why did one person
    say true and another say false?
  • d. Have students re-read the questions that were
    in dispute and to be ready to discuss whether
    their opinion changed after reading the material,
    and why or why not.

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10. Storytelling
  1. Make up a story based on what you already know.
    Make revisions as you go along.

  • 11. Predicting the main idea
  • Using summarization cards from a known story,
    compare and contrast information in big ideas
    pile and little ideas pile.
  • b. Explain that a main idea is a big idea.
  • c. Read through the information on each card.
    Ask if the story would make sense if you did not
    know the information on the card. Set cards into
    piles based on students yes/no answers.

  1. Organize the cards in the no pile, showing what
    a nonsensical story it would make.
  2. Organize the cards in the yes pile, showing
    that they form a reasonable story.
  3. Have students brainstorm what might be in the
  4. Sort as in c.
  5. Ask them to decide what some of the big ideas
    (main ideas) in the story might be about.

  • 12. Use self-assessment inventories.
  • Before reading
  • To discover the needs, interests, and previous
    experiences of students
  • To find out what students already know and can do
  • To determine a particular approach or strategy

13. Remembering your Do Nots
  1. Do not start reading without thinking about the
  2. Do not start reading without knowing why you are
  3. Do not ignore pictures, titles, captions, and any
    other visual indicators on the pages that will
    help you

  • Note
  • It is important to have an idea of what
    strategies students are already capable of using.
    You will begin working on them in the elementary
    grades and will continue through high school, if
    necessary, until strategies are mastered.

Strategies to Use During Reading (For
Comprehension and Reading Out Loud) MAIN
  • Revising prediction and inference (DRTA, QAR,
    ReQuest) as you proceed. What will happen next?
    Was your prediction right or wrong?
  • Steps for Directed Reading-Thinking Activity
  • http//www.career-connection.org/pdf/FCAT-Connecti
  • Steps for Question Answer Relationships
  • http//www.pwcs.edu/curriculum/sol/qar.htm
  • Steps for Reciprocal Questioning
  • http//www.justreadnow.com/strategies/request.htm

2. Relating what you are reading to what you
already know
  1. Obtain a copy of the ideas that were generated
    during your Activation of Prior Knowledge
    activity. This can be a list, a story map, an
    outline, a graphic organizer, a semantic web, or
    any other visual tool the teacher used or had
    students use to record activated prior knowledge.
  2. Read one segment of the text at a time
  3. Have students scan their Prior Knowledge source,
    locating information that relates to the segment.
  4. Have student discuss how the information in the
    text and the information on the Prior Knowledge
    source relate to one another
  5. Have other students explain how that information
    or connection is important their lives

3. Asking questions that will need to be
answered (SQ3R)
  • This is done initially with the whole class, then
    collaboratively in reading teams, then
    individually as the students skills progress.
  • Survey Skim the pages noticing the title,
    pictures, captions, headings, bold-faced or
    italicized words and any other indicators that
    give you clues to the text.
  • Question If there are questions in the back,
    read them. If not, brainstorm questions that you
    might want to answer based on the information you

  • Read Read one section at a time, reflecting on
    the questions and relating what you have learned
    to the information you gathered before reading
  • Recite Answer the questions that you generated.
    Get group input if you are unable to answer the
    questions. If possible, generate some new
    questions based on the information you have
  • (Repeat c and d with each new section.)
  • e. Review After completing the text, review
    questions and answers for the entire text.

4. Searching for information segments that match
questions asked.
  • Note connections between words on your
  • brainstorm list and words in the text.
  • b. Think of synonyms for words on your brainstorm
    list. Match where possible.
  • c. If you think you have found a connection but
    are not sure, read from several sentences before
    the sentence containing the information to
    several sentences after.
  • d. Reread
  • e. Collaborate with a study buddy.
  • f. Discuss why you think the information is
  • g. Ask what additional information you would need
    to be sure you have an answer. What is still
    missing? Can you find the information elsewhere
    in the passage?

5. Using knowledge of story structure and themes
For a dozen different printable story and theme
maps, visit http//www.enchantedlearning.com/grap
Honeycomb Map
5 Division Story Wheel
Story Star
6. Activating mental imagery based on prior
knowledge, visual cues, and information
accumulated from the text.
  • Learn the techniques in Visualizing and
    Verbalizing by Nanci Bell.
  • Be sure to encourage student to invoke mental
    imagery routinely throughout reading.

7. Making Inferences
  • Choose a passage in a text at or just above the
    students ability to read independently that
    contains the requirement to draw an inference.
  • b. Point out the problem to the students and tell
    them that you are going to show them some steps
    they can use to Make an Inference.
  • c. Discuss what is meant by an inference.
    Compare it to the word literal.
  • d. Use examples in the physical world of the
    students experiences. For example, It is cold is
    a literal statement. Sam wants to put on a
    sweater may be an inference he drew because it is
    cold. Maybe it is true. Maybe it is not.
  • e. Using selected passages, brainstorm to
    activate prior knowledge.

  • Use a Think Aloud process to demonstrate how you
    drew your inference.
  • Discuss the difference between an inference and a
    guess. Make a T chart with inferences on one
    side and guesses on the other.
  • Give the student other passages requiring an
  • Brainstorm to activate prior knowledge.
  • Ask each student to draw an inference.
  • Engage class in discussion of whether each
    students response is literal, a good/wild guess,
    or an inference.
  • Guide students through the process until they are
    comfortably making inferences.

8. Using Summarization Skills (what the story is
  1. Write Summary on the board. Discuss what it
    means. Tell students you are going to teach them
    how to summarize a story because summarizing
    skills help in reading comprehension.
  2. Brainstorm a well-known, short story. Ask
    students to tell you everything they remember
    about the story. Put each statement on a 3 X 5
    notecard. Be sure students include information
    about character, setting, problem, sequence,
    attempts at resolution, and resolution.
  3. Have students sort cards into logical piles.
  4. Further sort each pile into main ideas and
    supporting ideas.

  1. Set aside the supporting ideas. Tell students
    that when you summarize, you must eliminate
    unimportant information. Yes, it might be
    interesting, but you can still tell the story
    without it.
  2. Further sort the main idea pile by collapsing
    several cards into one statement.
  3. After you have each of the piles into one
    statement, be sure they are in correct sequence.
  4. Read across the statements to relay the story.
    Tell them that this is a summary.
  5. Give students sets of cards you have prepared so
    they can try the process themselves.
  6. Go through the process again yourself with
    another simple story with which students are not

  1. Leave out a critical piece of information to
    demonstrate that it is possible to leave out too
  2. Give students plenty of practice.
  3. Remember, there are levels of difficulty of
    materials to summarize. Start at the level
    students can summarize. These levels
    are 1. Summarizing explicit
    information 2. Summarizing implicit
    information 3. Summarizing metaphoric
    narrative 4. Summarizing and drawing
    conclusions about main ideas of an outline

9. Using Self-Monitoring of Comprehension
(clarifying misunderstandings)
  • Develop self-monitoring checklists for students
    to use while they are reading.
  • Purposes
  • To assess students' understanding and progress
  • To identify successes or difficulties and
    confidence levels
  • To assess students' abilities to verbalize their
    understanding and insights
  • To assess students' abilities to work together
    while sharing ideas and completing tasks

10. Always stopping to use fix-up strategies
when needed
  1. Do I understand the vocabulary? Use decoding
  2. Do I understand the phrase? Consider if phrase
    might be figurative.
  3. Re-read.
  4. Deciding whether to fix-up now or wait for more
  5. Read from several sentences before to several
    sentences after the location in question.

  • f. Employ visualization strategy.
  • g. Re-activate prior knowledge.
  • h. Question your predictions.
  • i. Use buddy system.
  • j. Ask your teacher.

11. Using Decoding Skills
  • Use phonics strategies. Sound out the word.
    Think about words it might be. Check to see if
    these words fit in the context of the sentence.
  • b. Use syntactic strategies. Skip the word you
    dont know. Keep reading, then re-read to see if
    words make sense. Use the -1/Sentence/1strategy.
    Read the sentence before, the sentence
    containing the word, and the sentence after.
  • c. Use visual strategies. Look at the pictures,
    diagrams, advance organizers (maps, outlines,
    etc.) and all visual information available.

  • Use structural analysis strategies and
    morphographemic strategies. Break word into
    parts you know. Look for smaller words within
    the word. Search for Latin roots, prefixes, and
  • (See presentation under Recommended Literacy
    Practices section of www.deafed.net for
    discussion of morphographemic instruction.)
  • Use context cues. Combine phonics, syntactic,
    visual , and morphographemic information.
    Re-activate prior knowledge. Compare
    misunderstood word to Prior Knowledge list.
  • Go to the dictionary.
  • Ask a buddy. Ask your teacher.

12. Use prediction logs
  • See discussion under Before Reading strategies.

Prediction Reason for Prediction
1st They ate their picnic lunch in the park. You usually eat a lunch after you pack it. A park is a nice place to eat a picnic lunch. That is why I think they eat their lunch next.
2nd I think Tom will win first place in the science fair. Everyone told Tom he did a good job on his robot. Also if the judges were speechless, I think that means Tom did a good job. That is why I think that tom will win first prize.
13. Applying Knowledge of Text Organization
(narrative and expository text have different
organizational patterns)
  • See discussion of narrative and expository texts
    in part 1 of this presentation.
  • Narratives have
  • Beginning includes the setting and characters
  • Middle includes the problem, the plan, and the
    events leading to a resolution
  • End resolution and reaction

Expository texts have a variety of
organizations Temporal sequence describes or
lists events in their order of occurrence Expla
nation explains such things as causes, effects,
and enabling circumstances Comparison/contrast
compares or contrasts two events or
concepts Problem/solution explains the
development of a problem and suggests a
solution Process description describes the
parts of a process Classification explains
how concepts are classified Each narrative
theme and expository organization has a
corresponding graphic organizer that can
visually represent the theme or organization.
14. Asking for Help
  • Students often take two stances. Either they
    give up and say they dont know, asking for help
    with nothing, or they distrust their skills and
    ask for help with everything.
  • Draw a line on the board showing a continuum from
    the word Never Asks/Gives Up to Always Asks
    First. Write Uses Strategies in the center.
    Show student where s/he falls on the continuum.
  • Tell student that you are going to teach him a
    strategy to use before he asks/gives up.
  • Write three steps for student to go through
    before he can give up/ask. Be sure there are
    strategies you have actually taught and the
    student can actually use.

Never Asks/Gives Up
Always Asks First
Uses Strategies
  1. Tell student to check off the strategies s/he has
    tried. Give the answer when student can
    demonstrate s/he has tried the strategy.
  2. Over time, add another and then another step
    student must try before giving up/asking for
  3. Do read alouds where you demonstrate your
    unfolding understanding of the text by talking
    through your thought processes. This will
    demonstrate to the student that everyone must
    work to understand a written passage.
  4. Work on figurative language routinely. Choose a
    word and discuss it in depth (book), showing
    multiple meanings, compound words (bookcase),
    noun adjuncts (match book), figurative phrases
    (make book, book a prisoner, book it), and
    expressions (throw the book at someone).
    Students need to see that even simple words can
    have difficult to understand meanings.

15. Using advance organizers
  • This is a teacher-initiated strategy. Provide
    student with advance organizers.
  • Provide student with an outline of content on
    notecards or paper (sequential)
  • Provide student with graphic organizer (spatial)
  • Relate story theme, message, or other components
    to a similar story the student has already read

16. Seeking Proof of Fact versus Opinion
  • Appropriate for students ages 9 and above.
    Usable with narratives and expository text.
    (Source McAnally, Rose, Quigley)
  • Teacher explains the difference between fact and
    opinion and gives examples from the physical
    world of the students.
  • Starting with an example, teacher asks students
    what clues are in the text that can alert the
    reader to whether it is a fact or an opinion.
  • After listing the clues from the examples,
    teacher and students can elaborate on other clues
    from their own experiences.
  • Teacher and students discuss why it is important
    to distinguish fact from opinion.

  1. On overhead transparency, teacher shows students
    a list of statements to evaluate as fact or
    opinion. If the statement is fact, student must
    indicate the possible source for verification
    next to that statement (e.g., encyclopedias,
    dictionaries, textbooks, newspapers). They may
    also be asked to write their proof by the
  2. Students do several examples as a group.
  3. Teacher asks students to circle the clues in each
  4. Students complete the rest of the statements
    independently, in small groups, or in pairs.
  5. Photocopy sections of students textbooks and of
    age-appropriate narrative texts. Have them
    highlight facts in one color highlighter and
    opinions in another.

17. Monitoring Fluency Envelope when Reading Out
See Easterbrooks Huston (2007). Signed reading
fluency in children who are deaf or hard of
hearing. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf
Education. Includes speed, eye contact,
posture, facial expression, body movement, sign
space, bouncy/steady, stiff/relaxed,
jerky/smooth. See article for assessment
18. Monitoring Internal Aspects of Fluency when
Reading Out Loud
  • See Easterbrooks Huston (2007). Signed reading
    fluency in children who are deaf or hard of
    hearing. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf
  • Includes topic grammar/spoken inflection,
    absent referent, role shift, eye gaze, other use
    of space, question grammar/spoken inflection,
    negation, directionality, classifiers as tags.
  • See article for assessment rubric.

21. Remembering Your Do Nots
  1. Do not continue reading if you are unsure about
  2. Do not forget to use as many strategies as you
  3. Do not hesitate to ask for help.

Strategies to Use After Reading
1. Deciding if You Have Achieved Your Goal for
  • Obtain list of goals identified prior to reading.
  • Check ones that were achieved.
  • Dont settle for achieving just some.
  • For goals not achieved, think about what
    additional information you might need in order to
    achieve the goal. Re-read, searching for that
  • Discuss with study buddy or teacher.
  • f. Make a plan for acquiring the additional
    information. Make the plan Simple, something you
    can do Independently, that employs your
    Strategies, that makes best use of your Time, and
    that is most likely to help you Achieve your goal

2. Retelling
  • There are many different ways to encourage
  • -retell with pictures
  • -retell without pictures
  • -retell in ASL, then translate into English
  • -retell by filling in blank areas on a graphic
    organizer that was used to develop the lesson

3. Using Self-Evaluation of Comprehension
After reading To find out what the students
have learned To determine the quality of
students' learning To gauge the effectiveness
of the activities and approach in relation to the
objectives and goals To reflect on teaching
4. Summarizing Main Ideas and Important Points
  • a. Brainstorm as many things as you can remember
    about the story. Put these on 3 X 5 cards or on
    sentence strips.
  • b. Sort the cards that seem to go together.
  • c. Re-sort these piles into big ideas and little
  • Look at the cards and decide the main topic of
    the big ideas.
  • Decide the sequence of the big ideas.
  • f. Summarize the story by telling the big ideas
    in order with supporting information from the
    little ideas.

5. Thinking About What Made Your Prediction Good
or Bad
  • Use prediction logs that were developed before
    and during reading. Sort good and bad
    predictions. Dialogue with the teacher about what
    made one prediction good and another bad.

6. Extending Your Knowledge with Outside Sources
  • Read further books on the topic.
  • Watch a video of the narrative or an
    instructional video on information in an
    expository text.
  • Talk to an expert who is knowledgeable about some
    aspect of the text.
  • Discuss what you have learned with peers, family

7. Relating What You Read to Your Real Life
  • Brainstorm ways the information applies to your
  • Choose one of the connections.
  • Do a project to demonstrate how the information
    relates to your life such as
  • Interview someone in your life and
  • discuss how you two relate to the topic
  • 2. Make a videotape of how this piece of
    information plays out in your life
  • 3. Take a series of pictures
  • 4. Make a collage

8. Remembering your Do Nots
  • Do not pretend you understood what you read if
    you dont.

  • McAnally, P., Rose, S., (1999). Reading
    Practices with Deaf Children. Austin, TX PRO-Ed
  • Rose, S., P. McAnally Quigley, S. P. (2003).
    Language Development Practices with Deaf Children
    3rd ed. Austin, TX ProEd
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