Activities during reading have two main purposes. First, they increase students’ understanding of the text. Second, they enable the teacher or parapro to check if students understand what they are reading—and in which areas students need help or support.
Because fluency is important for comprehension, a parapro can provide useful scaffolding to readers in the form of help with unfamiliar or specialized vocabulary. The parapro can also promote readers’ engagement with the text by encouraging them to learn more about the subject matter covered in the text.
For instance, a small group of students might watch science programs from public television to learn more about genetics or other important topics in biology. Finally, parapros can provide structuring prompts to help students notice certain things as they read.
Teacher feedback to oral reading Teacher prompts on the spot to support understanding
This approach improves comprehension, especially when the teacher or parapro checks with the students to make sure they are finding the information mentioned in the prompts. The following table lists some of the many scaffolds that can be used during reading.
Scaffolds to Help Students Build Reading Strategies During Reading
|What It Does
|Check-in with students, staying on hand during reading to answer and ask relevant questions
|The check-in scaffolds the reading activity, helps with comprehension and new words, and gives students a chance to share what they’ve found or learned in their reading.
|While students are reading a story, ask them to predict what will happen next.
|Vocabulary activities check students’ understanding of new words in the text, reinforce the meaning and use of new words, and give them practice at using new vocabulary.
|Discuss new words that the students encounter in the text. Help them find the meanings, perhaps in a dictionary or on the Internet. Add the new words to a word box, word wall, vocabulary list, or journal.
|Preview text: skimming a new section of text to discover what it’s about
|The preview prepares students to read upcoming text, including how to use certain features in the text. It also gives them a renewed purpose for reading.
|Have students skim a new section to get a general idea of what it presents. With nonfiction, point out headings, diagrams, and tables that might give them clues about the new information that is about to be presented.
|Add information (characters, plot, problem, etc.) to a story map
|The story map helps students during discussions. Teachers can use it to check students’ understanding.
|Make a cause-and-effect chart using the events on the story map. Add new characters or settings to the map. Begin to think about the problem that a story presents and how the problem was solved by the characters in the story.
|Use a study guide
|A study guide helps students get through larger sections of text, promotes greater independence, and helps students study for tests. It also helps teachers check on students’ progress and understanding.
|A study guide for a larger text might include these features: new vocabulary, focusing questions, ideas about how to re-read the text in order to learn the material more deeply, activities for deeper reflection, and review activities for a test.
|Re-read a passage of text several times to get more out of it (close reading)
|Re-reading helps students make inferences, understand text more deeply, and see new perspectives. It also helps them understand how authors crafted their writing and why they wrote it.
|Ask students to read a story a second time to explore a different point of view. (“Read the passage again, and this time, imagine that you’re the witch. How would you feel?”)