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Need Advice about Graphic Organizers for Comprehension


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#1 Lecka

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 05:01 PM

This is for my 9-year-old. 

 

I would like to challenge him a little more with his listening comprehension.  There is a level (around Magic Tree House level) where he can listen and hear details, and he can answer questions that are like "are you listening" type questions, "what did the main character see?" stuff like that so I know he is paying attention and can understand what is going on. 

 

But he is not connecting the stories overall when they are at this level.  He can do it for shorter stories, and he can do it with books that have more pictures. 

 

Anyway -- I don't want to ask him to do too much, I don't want to ask him too many questions, at this point.  He is already working hard just to listen. 

 

I have been googling a bit, and I do think I am going to try filling out a graphic organizer as I read to him, and going over it with him. 

 

My question is ------- is there a best type to use?

 

The ones I am considering are:

 

Summary/sequence:   First, then, next, last. 

 

Story elements:  characters, setting, problem, solution

 

Okay, I guess those are all I am considering that I think would work for fiction?  For straight-forward non-fiction I would do "detail, detail, detail, main idea."  He does these at school and I would just continue with these, but really I am more interested in reading him fiction at home. 

 

I don't see doing compare/contrast at this point. 

 

So how do you decide what type of graphic organizer is best to use for a specific story?  Or does it matter, can I just do one or the other at random? 

 

 



#2 kbutton

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 07:30 PM

Adding to the list...not sure what would be the "best" approach, although I am guessing using the same one several times before adding another is always good.

 

Wh- questions seems like it would be another option.

 

 



#3 PeterPan

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 08:09 PM

If you want something shorter but with less pictures, you're wanting something like Aesop's fables. You might like to read the fable then do a sequencing activity where the sentence strips or pictures are already done. Like make 3 pictures ahead of time to go with the fable, read the fable, then sequence the pictures and retell it. Then, when he nails 3 pictures, go to 4 pictures and increase till 5-6. Then, when he can do it with pictures, you can do it with sentences. 

 

I really like the workbooks in the Spotlight on Reading series Search Our Catalog | Carson-Dellosa Publishing  They have a gr 1/2 level that is very nice. They do a lot of things like fill in the blanks, etc. It was challenging for my ds.

 

I think graphic organizers might be kind of abstract and text-driven. You might find it easier to make a clothespin puppet of the main character and physically place him for the scene. So like with my ds, for a more complicated work, we'll make clothespin figures, stop reading, make the scene, read some more, do the next scene. So more kinesthetic, something he can handle and move. A graphic organizer is pretty abstract. My ds can understand a venn diagram and he gets the cells of a comic strip. But I'm not sure a graphic organizer would mean much to him. He can read infographics worksheets and do them though, so maybe I'm all wet? But really I don't think so. I think it's pretty abstract for him.

 

But you know, just try things and see. I just like to have 4 ways to try it, so if one way isn't working we can try another.



#4 PeterPan

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 08:15 PM

When you're using  a reading model for instruction, sometimes you need to drop the level. He may listen for pleasure to things that are a stretch. Might need to drop the level for working on comprehension and skills. So fables would be good for that, one page fairy tales, something shorter. I got an Arnold Lobel collection of fables that is charming. 

 

Nice thing about fables is then you can act the out with figures you have around the house, cut out some pictures and use them on a board with magnets, whatever. Graphic organizers don't have to be filled with words. They can be things, pictures, anything. 


Edited by PeterPan, 06 February 2018 - 08:17 PM.


#5 Lecka

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 01:07 PM

He has done wh question grids for sentences and paragraphs. He has only done them for directly stated information. I do like it and I think if I see him struggle i should go back to it.

But believe it or not, because sometimes what they do at school does not necessarily make the most sense, he has been taught about story elements in school. It’s one of those things they have done with him since 1st grade, so he has been taught to link some wh questions to story elements. He knows characters are “who” and he knows setting is “where and when” and he understands “what’s the problem?” I don’t think he does understand “solution” so I need to think what he has learned for that. I think I could link the questions words though, I have seen things that do that with story elements, it would be helpful I bet. (They just put “WHO are the characters” instead of just “characters,” lol, nothing too fancy.)

He can do this for one page with familiar vocabulary and a familiar setting. I am seeing him do much better for stories that are about kids at home or school, compared to kids on an adventure. That has surprised me for it to make such a difference. So I’m looking more for the familiar settings for now. Or a setting he actively likes (like ninja or pirate themes, probably).

I don’t think he could understand the moral from a fable at this point. That would be a big step for him even for an easy fable. It’s a lot of abstract thought I think, and then — they are often a bit weird if someone just takes them literally. I think that is for the future for him.

I’m also really wanting to have more joint read-alouds for him and his sister, and he needs to come up a little bit for things to be engaging to her. She does listen in some when I read to him, but I read a lot to him and almost none just to her. She is a fluent reader and can read to herself, so — I would “like” to read to her but I prioritize reading to him. I do talk about books she is reading with her, but it’s not the same as “read-aloud with mom.”

#6 kbutton

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 01:32 PM

He has done wh question grids for sentences and paragraphs. He has only done them for directly stated information. I do like it and I think if I see him struggle i should go back to it.

But believe it or not, because sometimes what they do at school does not necessarily make the most sense, he has been taught about story elements in school. It’s one of those things they have done with him since 1st grade, so he has been taught to link some wh questions to story elements. He knows characters are “who” and he knows setting is “where and when” and he understands “what’s the problem?” I don’t think he does understand “solution” so I need to think what he has learned for that. I think I could link the questions words though, I have seen things that do that with story elements, it would be helpful I bet. (They just put “WHO are the characters” instead of just “characters,” lol, nothing too fancy.)

 

I know my son sometimes needs this sort of explicit link made from a familiar set of terms to a new label or between labels and questions, then reversing the connections (questions to labels). I am not sure the order is important, but he really does need the two-way relationship pointed out to him, or else he just sees them as separate processes, which means talking things through, etc. for him to make a connection that should be automatic. 

 

I suspect that the "right" graphic organizers are ones that work together to show the same concept from many angles at whatever pace makes sense for the student's language structure. 

My son will be presented with the same information but different directionality with the information, and not link it! So, it's like on Jeopardy where they answer with the question--he can go one direction, but not the other with the same information. I think it a huge problem with writing, paraphrasing, narrating, taking notes, studying information that he hasn't completely assimilated, etc. Basically all of my son's LA school tasks. He can answer a series of multiple choice questions on a passage, but he can't translate those into an answer for easy open-ended question about the same material. I am not sure he could generate a question for a passage either. 

 

It's becoming clear that my son's organizational structure for language is very wonky even though he has some kind of organizational structure in his brain for lots of things. 

 

Anyway, all that to say that it's the storage and retrieval and linking that is just not working for my son, and I think that sometimes the graphic organizer has to stimulate the "right" links to work for each child. 



#7 Lecka

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 01:50 PM

I am going to have to chew on that. I’m not sure we even ask him to generate questions; but I have seen where kids are taught to generate questions from the wh questions grids, and generate questions that way. But I think it is more advanced than my son? I need to think about that.

#8 kbutton

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 01:59 PM

I am going to have to chew on that. I’m not sure we even ask him to generate questions; but I have seen where kids are taught to generate questions from the wh questions grids, and generate questions that way. But I think it is more advanced than my son? I need to think about that.

 

I don't know where it would be in priority for your son, but I thought mentioning what it looks like for mine might give you information that you could maybe scale to something that you see with him. I know that you say things that jog things in my mind about my son's processing, and then I can translate that to his context.

 

My son isn't getting direct intervention right now on the generating questions--the work that he did on that seemed to go fine. I think they need to dig deeper, try a different context, etc. I know that he still can't ask good questions IRL, and it's still as though he can't put language things inside his head on purpose--the ideas go in, make themselves comfortable, and stay where they land, and rearranging the furniture means the ideas just take a seat on the floor where their former favorite chair was, so to speak! They also don't recognize nicknames--they must be called out in a very specific way to know they are being summoned!

 

But the whole idea of information going into (or being retrieved from) the brain one way but not another with the same content seems to match up with the idea of using Wh- questions to reframe a graphic organizer about story elements.

 

We are swirling the drain a bit with this, so it's something on my mind a lot lately, lol! 



#9 Jennifer-72

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 02:09 PM

Just posting quickly from my phone so can't post a link but have you looked at the narrative & discourse builder tool at northern speech? I thought it was really good.

#10 kbutton

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 03:14 PM

https://www.northern...e-builder-tool/

 

This one? 

 

I have seen similar things from the Expanding Expression Tool people, I think. Thanks!


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#11 Lecka

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 03:20 PM

Thank you! That looks both simple and like it includes really good details! That is so hard to do!

#12 Lecka

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:58 PM

I just watched the video for the narrative discourse builder, my son has been doing similar (not with me with other people) with filling out a graphic organizer to help him to recall/retell a past event (which apparently is what they call a personal narrative here) and I didn’t realize how it could fit in with the reading comprehension and writing so seamlessly.
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#13 PeterPan

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:00 PM

It sounds like you're saying the skill hasn't generalized. And yes, if they worked on answering wh-questions, then forming his own from a picture prompt would be a good step. Yes, he'll probably need support to get there and find it fatiguing.



#14 Lecka

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:15 AM

Oh, he'll be working on this for years.  It's just one of those long-term things I think. 

 

I got a paper ready and so I'll try it tonight :) 


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