In my last post, I admitted that I am experiencing what Cris Tovani suggests are the indicators for confusion while reading Shenaaz Nanji’s Child of Dandelions.
If I am taking on the role of a learner, then I want to explore what I can do now to improve my engagement with this text.
Before I look at fixing my confusion, I recall Kelly Gallagher writing about a reader’s mind being set on the right “reading channel”:
“Coming to text in the right frame of mind is not a reading issue; it’s a concentration issue. Even good readers experience comprehension problems when they are not properly focussed on the reading task at hand.” (52)
Gallagher goes on to say,
“Regardless of reading ability, your understanding of the text is directly affected by your frame of mind when you sit down to read. Even proficient readers will not comprehend their reading if their minds are not tuned to the reading task at hand.” (52)
But, Gallagher continues:
“…being ‘off channel’ is not the problem” — in fact, it would appear to be quite normal — “…the question is what good readers do when their reading minds are ‘off channel’.” (52)
Gallagher presents three questions to help students navigate challenging text (p. 52):
- Have I chosen a place to read that will enable me to give my full concentration to the reading task at hand? (Yes: I wait to read at night before bed once my children have gone to bed and all of the house ‘chores’ are finished.)
- Have I set aside enough time to give this reading the attention it deserves? (For the most part; I need quiet for reading and I typically find the quietest time is at the end of the day when I will have 3o minutes to an hour for reading.)
- Have I cleared my mind of other issues and turned to the “reading” channel of my brain? (Not always easy to do. And it probably doesn’t help that I am reading multiple books at the same time.)
For the teacher, Gallagher asks of himself:
“Have I adequately framed the text to help shore up my students lack of prior knowledge and experience?” (p. 53)
So, for myself, have I adequately framed the text for my reading? How might I do that? What are ways to ‘back fill’ my lack of prior knowledge and experience?