Most of my current students are focused on strengthening basic word recognition and passage fluency. While comprehension skill building is important, less emphasis is placed on meaning in our work. A recent study (Hollenbeck, 2013) focused on a new teaching technique for use in working with students struggling with learning disabilities. She contended that the field of comprehension teaching methods with this population is limited. Her method integrated the teaching of specific comprehension skills into lessons calling her technique “talking about books” and focused on keeping the students centered on creating understanding and monitoring their progress as they went along. Traditional reading programs for students with learning disabilities are usually based on direct instruction in a teacher-led, structured teach and practice format. Hollenbeck’s approach is a reminder of alternate ways that reading comprehension can be taught. It is a reminder that comprehension should be included in fluency practice as well at least at the very basic main idea level. This will be food for thought as our fluency work continues.
Hollenbeck, A. R. F. (2013). Beyond talking about books: Implications of the reading comprehension instruction and pedagogical beliefs of a special educator perceived as effective. Learning Disability Quarterly. 36(2), 112-125.