Monday, May 1, 2006

May 2006: Sheena Darty, Reading Comprehension Maven


 May 2006 America Learns Strategy of the Month 
University of Michigan

Sheena Darty Meet Sheena Darty, a member of the University of Michigan America Reads Tutoring Corps and author of the May 2006 Strategy of the Month.  Sheena created an engaging strategy to help develop her student's abilities to retell stories they read together.

Sheena, who is studying to become a History teacher, joined America Reads out of her commitment to children's literacy issues.  She writes that, "Through tutoring I have learned to take pride in the small victories and light bulb moments I experience with my tutees.  Tutoring has brought so much joy and fulfillment to my life, and I encourage others to become involved."  She is also a member of Black Educators of Tomorrow, the first organization devoted to encouraging young black collegians at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor to join and thrive in the field of education.

We hope that you and your students benefit from Sheena's strategy.

The Strategy

(Using Pictures to Retell a Story)

Created by: Sheena Darty, University of Michigan America Reads Tutoring Corps
(America Learns Network member since 2004)
Topic: Reading Comprehension
Grade Levels: First - Third
Arrangements: One-on-One
Materials: - Photocopier
- An illustrated book you’re reading with your student
- Reading journal or blank sheets of paper
- Pencil

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Situation: One of my students has difficulty retelling stores in order, so I thought the following strategy would be a fun and creative way to get her to retell a story.

Step 1: Before meeting with your student, photocopy illustrations of the most significant events of the story.

Step 2: After reading the book with your student, tell your student that you will play a game that has to do with the story.  Set aside the book and spread out the photocopied sheets on the table face down so that she cannot see the pictures yet.  (Don't forget to mix up the pictures so that they are not in order!)

Step 3: Ask your student to turn the sheets of paper over and to put each picture in order according to the events in the story.  Help her if she has trouble by referring back to the book if necessary.

Step 4: After your student places the pictures in the correct order, ask her to use the pictures to retell what happened in the story.  Give her praise for retelling the story well.  (If you're an America Learns Network member, access tips on giving meaningful praise here).

Step 5: Afterwards, ask your student to write down the summary in her journal*, using the pictures as a guide.  Continue to give her lots of praise and support as she writes.  (If you're an America Learns Network member, access tips on helping students learn to write summaries here).

*If your student doesn't have a journal, just ask her to write the summary on a few pieces of paper or other notebook.
Additional Resources for America Learns Network Members: Here are some related strategies you may find useful:

How Have You Addressed this Issue?

Please share your thoughts about this strategy and any messages you have for Sheena below.

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