Tag Archives: comprehension

The Thinking Reader – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, School and Service Improvement team led a CPD session on The Thinking Reader approach to active reading. 54 colleagues attended the session.

Kristina McGinley, Hallglen PS, Aimee Roan, Carron Primary School, Anita Cowan, St. Mary’s RCPS and Alison Marshall, Drumbowie PS all shared good practice in this area. Kristina had observed Sharon teaching using this approach, whilst the other three ladies had attended the course in November. All four teachers explained how using this approach to reading had led to noticeable increased attainment in reading skills.

Colleagues then participated in a Thinking Reader lesson before considering how they could use it in their own establishments. They all engaged in professional dialogue considering how this approach could be used to develop the six reading comprehension skills across a range of texts from a range of genres.

Schools Library Service also contributed to the session by providing a wide range of resources which support this reading approach.

All resources produced so far for the Thinking Reader can be found on the Active Literacy Resource section on GLOW.

Using Media to Support Literacy Skills

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Curriculum Support Team and John Doherty, Principal Teacher of English and Literacy at Larbert High School this week delivered a CPD opportunity to staff from the Braes Cluster.

The aims for this session were:

•To provide an overview of ways to use ‘cultural tools’ to support pupils to learn and express their ideas

•To explore ways pupils can read with understanding, communicate effectively face to face, in writing and through an increased range of media

Sharon began with an overview of the six reading comprehension skills and outlining the range of media resources available to support the development of these skills.

John began by outlining the key differences between a ‘book’ as text and ‘film’ as text:

John then identified the different types of camera angles: close-up, extreme close-up, high/ how angle shot, long shot, point of view shot, zoom and tracking. John showed different stills from a range of films and the teachers identified each shot.  The teachers were then asked to use their mobile devices to produce a camera shot from this list.

John then went onto analysing the use of music in film and we learned that music in film is known as the soundtrack. It  can be divided into two categories –

   a. Diegetic music (in the film – characters can hear)

  b. Non-diegetic music (music that characters cannot hear – not part of the film’s ‘reality’)

We then analysed a scene from Jurassic Park identifying examples of diagetic and non-diagetic music.

The final part of the course looked at the effect of lighting in film. We analysed a range of stills taken from recent films and examined the effect the lighting had on the meaning of the text.

At the end of the session, colleagues put all of their newly learned knowledge and skills to the test by analysing the film trailer for War Horse.

Feedback from this session was very positive and the course will be running again at Camelon Education Centre on March 5th from 4 til 5.30pm. (Course Code SW008). We are also hoping the Film Club will be attending this session too to share how Falkirk establishments can sign up to the fabulous range of resources on offer to support the development of literacy skills using film as text.

For more information about this and other literacy courses, please contact Sharon Wallace.

The Thinking Reader – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team has delivered a CPD session to 22 teachers entitled ‘Active Literacy Reading – The Thinking Reader Approach’.

The aims of the session were:

To provide an overview of the thinking reader approach

To provide an overview of the six comprehension strategies in reading

To examine ways forward for the teaching of reading using active approaches.

After examining the benefits of reading, Sharon explained that the thinking reader approach is used to teach children reading strategies to improve their ability to understand what they read. It is an approach which can be applied to a range of ‘texts’.

Sharon demonstrated the thinking reader approach using the text ‘Chinese Cinderella’. Colleagues gained a deeper understanding of this text through the following activities:

  1. Using prior knowledge – what do you already know about Cinderella?
  2. Metalinguistics – colleagues were asked to include the word ‘unwanted’ in a sentence and highlight words/ phrases they like/ don’t understand in an identified paragraph
  3. Visualisers – colleagues were asked to produce a visualiser of the character Naing using the information in the extract
  4. Inference – two questions were posed about the text relating to inference e.g. What is the relationship between Naing and Jun-Ling
  5. Main Ideas – What are the main themes from the text you can gather using the information you have already been given
  6. Summarising – summarise the character of Naing in a tweet

Sharon then explored how the thinking reader approach relates to the key reading skills which are assessed in the context of the Scottish Survey for Literacy and Numeracy.

Sharon then shared how she had previously used the thinking reader approach with the following texts:

P2 – The Daily What article/ Beware of the Bears

P3 – The Wish Cat

P4 – Michael Rosen’s poetry

P5 – Moving Image Education film

P6 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

P7 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

S1 – Chinese Cinderella

The course also looked at the comprehension triangles from the Active Literacy programme:

Sharon then examined ways to use effective questioning in reading lessons, examining the role of Blooms fans and how these can be used at different ages and stages.

The course was well received and feedback included:

“I wanted to thank you for the CPD last night. It’s really helped me work out a plan of action for all of my reading groups and not just the group that weren’t ‘getting’ the Bloom’s Fans work. It was good to have input on the key comprehension strategies and I’m going to start as of Monday”.

“I really enjoyed the course last night and I think (or hope!) that I am starting to understand the type  of questions and activities that the pupils should be completing”.

This course will be re-run on Tuesday 11th March from 4 til 5.30pm for any colleagues who didn’t get an opportunity to attend this one.

Reading is Rubbish?! Engaging Families in the Learning

 Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team has taken part in a recent workshop activity held at Falkirk High School.

The title of the event was ‘Reading is Rubbish’ and was aimed at parents and families of pupils in Falkirk schools. There were several workshops on offer at the event, which was led by author and patron of reading at Falkirk High School, Catherine MacPhail.

Sharon delivered two workshops to several parents, carers and pupils entitled: ‘Using Chocolate Cake to Demonstrate Reading Strategies’. Sharon used Michael Rosen’s poem ‘Chocolate Cake’ as a stimulus for developing reading and writing skills.

Participants engaged in several activities which addressed the six key comprehension strategies in active literacy reading. They were tempted by the lure of a piece of rich, icky-sticky, ooey-gooey, scrumptious chocolate cake and used fabulous adjectives to describe the treat.

Feedback from the workshop was extremely positive and families went away learning several new strategies to help their children with the development of reading skills at home.

Feedback included:

“I just wanted to say how much we thoroughly enjoyed the “Reading is Rubbish” event on Wednesday. Having attended the “chocolate poem workshop” – My daughter, who is 3, stood up in nursery and told all of her peers that “reading is not rubbish, it’s great fun and you even get chocolate cake!”  My son who is P5 (and my reluctant reader) actually enjoyed it more than I thought he would have, he was telling everyone how great it was. I thought the workshop I attended was excellent.”

Active Literacy – Stirling University Input

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team has delivered an input to 45 second year ITE students at Stirling University. The session was based around Active Literacy and covered the following aims:

  • To provide an overview of active approaches to literacy in the Early Years
  • To outline key strategies and methodologies used for effective teaching and learning
  • To examine ways forward for the student teachers careers to incorporate active approaches to literacy 

Sharon provided these students with an overview of how Falkirk Council are meeting the literacy needs of our pupils from early to second level.

The students developed their knowledge and awareness of spelling and phonics strategies such as: five finger strategy, Elkonin boxes, diacritical marking, mnemonics, words within words, syllabification and compound words.

The active literacy animation for parents was shared, as well as Falkirk Council’s Literacy Strategy online support tool blog.

Sharon provided the students with an overview of the phoneme programme for each year group and how the 40 phonemes are covered across P1-3. Students used the reciprocal teaching method to work with a range of phoneme words to see how these are taught in Falkirk establishments.

There was an overview given of the six reading comprehension strategies and Sharon used the text ‘The Gruffalo’ to exemplify how each strategy can be used with this picture book.

The session concluded with the students reflecting on what they had learned, how this new knowledge impacts on their beliefs and understandings and what their next steps will be.

Probationers Experience Active Literacy

 Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Team has delivered Active Literacy training this week to all primary probationer teachers in Falkirk.

The two sessions covered the range of strategies and methodologies used across all stages to develop skills in all areas of literacy.

The probationers enthusiastically participated in activities including a spelling test to highlight how we draw on our own phonological awareness, knowledge of spelling rules and phonemes to spell words. They also put a series of words into Elkonin boxes examining the 40 phonemes in the Active Literacy programme.

Sharon provided the primary probationers with a full overview of the programme from early to second level. They developed their knowledge of phonemic awareness, spelling strategies including: mnemonics, words within words and syllabification. Colleagues are aware of how the five finger strategy, effective use of resources such as Smart notebook tools, magnetic boards and letters and reciprocal teaching can enable pupils to become better spellers. Evidence is showing that pupils are transferring their knowledge of phonemes to other types of writing in different situations.

Sharon also explained how the six key comprehension reading strategies are used across a range of ‘texts’. Probationer teachers discussed the reading skills they are currently developing with their classes and how the six key comprehension strategies supports this development.

In terms of writing, Sharon provided colleagues with an overview of the seven different genres and how these should be addressed across the course of the year.

Sharon also shared the new Active Literacy for parents animation.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/TnXMSAcKcCo" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]Feedback so far has been very positive and has included:

“Thanks very much for the course. I feel really enthusiastic and excited to try out the Active Literacy strategies in class.”