Hello fellow SLPs!
If you are like me working in the school setting, much of your work with students centers around literacy and language. Many of our students have receptive language IEP goals related to comprehension of language and texts read aloud to them. As I learn more about the SLP’s role in supporting literacy through the lens of the Common Core and State-based learning standards, I find myself seeking new ways to measure comprehension goals that align more with classroom instruction. Historically, my common method to measure comprehension was to write objectives to “answer WH questions” (with or without visual cues, or during the story presentation vs. following a latency). I would also write objectives to answer inferential questions, breaking down question types in terms of inferring about the setting, character emotions/intentions, problem/solution, etc.
In the past year, I have been trying out some different service models of pushing into classrooms rather than working with “pull-out” groups. I have found success in particular instances, and likewise, there are certainly some areas where I need to revise my approach for the upcoming school year.
However, as I have spent more time in the classroom, I have had the opportunity to be exposed to some inspiring interactive read-aloud techniques from the general education teachers I work with. (I especially would like to thank “Mrs. “L” in 2nd grade! 🙂 While I have always relied on using children’s literature as the foundation for my speech-language work – my time spent in the general education setting has really inspired me to look beyond my status quo practices.
Over the past year, my personal staff development has centered on the Language and Literacy framework outlined by Fountas and Pinnell (http://www.heinemann.com/fountasandpinnell/). Mid-way through the past school year, I created a rubric for myself to measure comprehension in a different way with my students. It is based on Fountas and Pinnell’s notion that comprehension should be a dynamic conversation between teachers and students – rather than a Q & A session. Through that conversation context, students can demonstrate comprehension of literal knowledge (within the text), inferential comprehension including making connections (beyond the text) and higher level synthesis and critique about the text structure, vocabulary, author’s point of view, and overall the craft behind writing and illustration (about the text).
I found this rubric to be the most helpful when I used texts that my students had already heard read aloud in their classrooms as my materials. I found it to be an efficient use of time to use the texts that the students had already heard, when I needed to collect more formal comprehension data for progress reports or an upcoming IEP meeting. I could use this rubric 3-4 times across a trimester for a student (equating to 9-12 scheduled measurement probes a year) to measure progress. Yes, I continued to read texts to my students myself during sessions, when the target of our session related to teaching specific vocabulary and comprehension elements, but I found that using texts from the classroom was an effective way to gather data using this rubric for me.
I wanted to share two documents with the readers… the first document is the Comprehension Rubric, and the second document contains specific question prompts that correspond with each category of the rubric to organize your “comprehending conversation.” Please know… these tools are certainly far from being perfect. Over the past school year I changed them continually. I still see some changes ahead and I use the tools more and more this upcoming school year. But, I finally feel like they are in a place where I can share them and hope that other people find them useful. Perhaps they will be useful for you as you plan for your upcoming school year. If I make changes as I roll along with the 2015-2016 school year as my own experience and professional development deepens, I will post revisions.
With that…. remember…. it’s only July! Enjoy more of your summer everyone! Jill
Here are the documents: