Reading Comprehension – Reflections

In my continued work with students, both in assessments and in tutorials, I see challenges in the abilities of middle school and high school students to understand their textbook materials. Working with students who have been given writing argumentative response assignments, specifically, frequent CSE (Claim, Support, Explain) paragraphs, I have begun to wonder what preparation and support is given in helping students parse the text to identify the key ideas needed in the CSE analysis. Without adequate comprehension skills, the selection and extraction of information continues to interfere with the writing process. What one does not understand at a literal level, one will have trouble writing about as well at a critical thinking level. The use of flash fiction stories may be helpful when pre-teaching essential comprehension skills given their short and to-the-point patterns, both characteristics that can give students a start in analyzing important prose elements.

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