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Classroom Resources

Using the Site with Less-Skilled Readers

Help your students read and achieve!

Wonder if these strategies really work with your content area readers? An independent research firm recently released data showing that Thinkport's online field trips are helping students read and achieve in the content areas. Research, conducted in two Maryland middle schools, showed that middle school students who used the online field trips scored higher on national standardized reading comprehension tests than those who used traditional learning methods alone.

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Dear Teachers:

The Bayville Online Field Trip is an interactive learning experience for your students. Each of the “interactives” provides a wealth of science information in the form of text, interactive experiences, video, audio, and graphic supports.

We know that you will be using the site with a range of readers. There are lots of simple things you can do to make sure that all readers in your classroom can access the materials.

Here are a few tips from project literacy advisors Joseph Czarnecki and Suzanne Clewell:

1.   Tap prior knowledge
All students, particularly less skilled readers, benefit from activities that help link previous knowledge with new knowledge. This accessing of prior knowledge can be in the areas of content, vocabulary and knowledge of the subject matter.

Before starting an interactive part of the site, review its comprehensive Teacher’s Guide. Share vocabulary words with students. Ask students to think about what they know about each term, then share with a partner, and finally share that knowledge with the class. This activity not only taps and shares prior knowledge, but it also gives you an idea of how much they know and which terms were easy or difficult. These terms then become purposes for reading as students try to confirm and add to their knowledge of the terms.

2.  Access Graphic Information
Many students do not choose to (or are unskilled at) accessing graphic information when they read. Model how to access graphic information. For example, before clicking on information, model with a think-aloud what information and/or predictions can be made by looking at images. Share your own observations first.

3.  Set Specific Purposes for Reading
The most effective reading occurs when the reader has a specific purpose and keeps that purpose in mind while reading. Less skilled readers benefit from having one or two specific purposes for reading. In the interactive BayQuest, for example, students are looking for specific animals as they take a virtual tour of the Bay. After giving students a preview of the content, ask them to think about the animals they are looking for while they read. Where might the animal live? Why? What’s special about the animal? Ask students for feedback during and after reading.

But Wait, there’s More!
We have assembled lots of background information and helps for you to work with a range of readers access your content.

Reading Resources

Use these resources to help you plan to successfully integrate reading into you content area teaching.

Reading Tips

Ideas, techniques, and considerations to help skilled and less-skilled readers.

A Reading Toolbox

Proven strategies and techniques that can help students negotiate and understand different kinds of texts (some accompanied by printables)

Science Reading Strategies

Reading techniques and strategies focused on science reading.

Reading Strategies for Each Interactive

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