"The student and I read a passage on Ecosystems. She is currently studying climate change; a subtopic of ecosystems; in school. Before reading the passage, I asked her to read nine vocabulary words and their definitions aloud. She then used a decoding strategy to decode 10 additional vocabulary words. She applied the method correctly 9/10 times. I corrected her one minor error, which was circling two prefixes as one. She read each vocabulary word aloud again. I gave her one minute to study the additional definitions, silently. Ninety-seconds were given to her to match each vocab term with its corresponding definition (I wanted to see how well she could focus under time constraints). All the words she identified, she identified correctly. I then asked the student to study common "word families"ù that appeared in the passage; e.g., "consume"ù, "consumer"ù, "consumable."ù She decoded each word aloud (she did not need to use the decoding method) and identified the part of speech for each word.
Before reading, I asked her to preview the article by reading the bold-lettered heading above each paragraph, looking at the illustrations, and reading the captions beneath each picture. She, at first, predicted the passage would be about "ecosystems"ù, but after pausing, she told a whole story about an ecosystem: one that illustrated she understood animals depended on each other as food. The headings and illustrations clearly activated her prior knowledge.
The passage was divided into sections, each section labeled with a letter of the alphabet; the final sentence of each paragraph was labeled with a letter. I asked the student to read the paragraphs in the first section silently; as she read, at the end of each paragraph, I asked her a comprehension question to check her understanding. She answered my questions correctly.
I asked the student to read the next section of the passage aloud. She read the passage much faster aloud than she did when reading silently. I asked her questions at the end of the passage to check her understanding. She answered the questions correctly again.
By the student's admission, reading aloud interferes with her reading comprehension. While I noted no significant difference in performance, she did read the passage quicker when reading aloud. Perhaps a good compromise is "whisper reading" - ùreading aloud softly to oneself. I will model whisper reading in our next lesson. I asked her to finish the passage, the vocab match, and the graphic organizer at home. I will review her answers at the beginning of the next lesson; I will also teach her a method for answering multiple choice questions."