It has been a very busy period for me. After the rush of extra Primary 6 lessons for my P6s, it is the rush of the SA2 for my P4s and P5s. The end of the semester is almost here and I am looking forward to my students and I relaxing and joking around again.

A break is planned for everyone mid-December and I have about six weeks to prepare my students for 2011.

The Primary 5s, some who have joined me in the last 2 months, have lots to catch up on before the intensive preparation for PSLE. While all componenets need to be worked on, my main concerns for them are 1) Comprehension Cloze and 2) Comprehension OE and MCQ.

The Primary 4s will have to prepare for the transition from Primary 4 to 5. I am aware of the new components – editing, synthesis, comprehension cloze (15 blanks), Comprehension OE, Graphic Stimulus and Situational Writing that they will be faced with. Most schools have introduced some of these components in their Primary 4 SA2. While others have waited till the start of Primary 5. I understand the ‘jump’ from Primary 4 to 5 can be somewhat of a shock to students and parents so I will (and have been) preparing my students for the year ahead.

My focus these 6 weeks for both my Primary 5 and 6 students will be on Comprehension. Research has shown that many teachers focus on the postreading aspects but the importance lies in comprehending the passage itself.

Being a good reader is an advantage in performing well. But I believe that training a student (whether they come from high, middle or low ability group), to read with understanding and then find the correct answers, is definitely possible.

I have been using these strategies in my lessons all the time.

1) Predicting
2) Visualizing
3) Questioning
4) Summarizing

In predicting, a student reads the first paragraph of the text and everyone predicts what the passage is about. As they continue to read, they are stopped at every paragraph and ideas are summarized and questions are asked. This allows the students to consolidate the main ideas of the passage and clear up doubts while it gives me a chance to check on the comprehension level of each child. If the passage is a complex one I’ll introduce Visualizing and this may come in the form of a graphic organiser such as a Venn Diagram.

Here are some websites that give good ideas and clear explanations on effective comprehension strategies:

https://arbs.nzcer.org.nz/comprehension-strategies

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/seven-strategies-teach-students-text-comprehension