Response to Chapt. 10 of Gunning’s, Assessing and Correcting Reading and Writing Difficulties

In chapter 10 a section talks about developing vocabulary through reading aloud. As I have said before it is important for struggling readers to hear fluent reading and this sections just further supports this. This section states that students learn words just from listening to someone read aloud with no instruction (Senechal & Cornell, 1993). Also when discussions and teacher explanations took place 40% of the words were learned (Elley, 1989). Reading aloud is very useful to low-achieving readers because generally they do not read as much as higher-achieving readers; which are why their vocabulary is diminished. Just like anything else practicing will make you better and the more you read the more vocabulary you will come across. Therefore, if low-achieving students are reluctant to read, then hearing and discussing can be a way for them to be exposed to new vocabulary. To get the most out of reading aloud a technique that is widely used is known as Text Talk (Beck & McKeown 2001). Text talk consists of six steps:

1. Provide the word in the context after reading

2. Produce an understandable definition of the word for the students to relate to. Display the word and definition for the students to help maximize memory retention.

3. Use the word in other contexts that prove the basic meaning. This helps generalize the word so it is easier to remember.

4. Help the students of your class relate the word to their lives and real life usage.

5. Review the word with the students in order to help retention.

6. Finally encourage the students to use the word in everyday use while talking and while writing. Also have them take note to when they hear the word in conversations.

(Gunning, 345)

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