Does your child often find it difficult to read and comprehend things? Did you try all techniques for improving reading but to no avail? So, here is the solution that will erase all your worries. Reading and comprehension are made easy with collaborative learning strategies.
The new century calls for new techniques of learning. The best gift to readers with reading difficulties is the Collaborative Reading Program and Orton Gillingham Reading Program. It precisely caters to the individual needs of readers with reading disabilities.
The CSR reading style is based on the principle of collaboration and cooperation between pupils and teachers. It mediates between the instructing teacher and cooperative children who try to learn by discovering new words and implying reading strategies. It echoes the line from the book The Power of Communication by Hellen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
What is Collaborative Strategic Reading?
Collaborative reading strategies are a contemporary approach to teaching in which a teacher tries to increase the readability and comprehension skills of the students. The main focus of the teacher is to enhance the ability of students to understand and respond to the content that they read.
In this teaching model, a teacher not only tries to impart subjective knowledge but also tries to instill morals in the students. In doing so, she splits students into groups so that, along with teaching, students learn cooperation.
To ease out students, teachers familiarize students with CSR reading strategies by utilizing different techniques of teaching. This inculcates role-playing, using play cards, reading out loud, and making them predict certain things. The four comprehension reading strategies make the lives of the students effortless. It is implemented before, during, and after reading.
The Origin of Collaborative Strategic Reading
In the essay Using Collaborative Strategic Reading (1998), Janette Klingner and Sharon Vaughn Coined the term collaborative strategic reading and provided a clear definition of it.
Further, they also explained the need for collaborative learning strategies. Klinger says that it was brought to bridge the gap between reading and comprehension, in which most children lag.
This style of teaching was targeted at students who are suffering from special needs or might be on the verge of facing difficulties. What is astonishing is that this approach benefits not only people with special needs but also intelligent students who can further polish their skills.
Materials for CSR
The material could include cue cards, cubes, and comprehension sheets.
Cue sheets help students learn CSR reading strategies. It provides strong support to students when they learn cooperatively. Cue sheets provide a clear procedure to follow in collaborative strategic reading. Thus, cue sheets provide a foundation for the learning of students.
Students can discontinue using cue sheets when they become confident and no longer need assistance.
One of the most engaging materials a teacher can use in the collaborative classroom is a Rubric cube. Then the question arises how to use it in a classroom. The teacher can paste small paper slips on the six faces of the cube and can use them for assigning tasks or sequencing the groups for the presentation.
It is one of the major contributors to the learning of children. Comprehension sheets help students to gain understanding from the passage and written material they have read. These sheets could help students in absorbing information in a better way.
The instructing teacher could use it as a teaching aid. Comprehension sheets could be used in a collaborative classroom when the teacher groups students in groups and pairs. Students can delve deeper into comprehension and make sense of it on their own, and the teacher can work as a facilitator.
Teachers can use comprehension sheets and cubes for doing follow-up activities in class. Like a fishbowl game, small sheets could be pasted on the cubes and turned around to allocate different tasks to students.
Process of CSR
The process of Collaborative Strategic Reading begins with an introduction of the topic – keywords, forming cooperative groups, and closes with follow-up action. Let’s break it into a few pointers for better understanding.
- The main task of the teacher is to introduce the topic which the students will be studying in the present class. The teacher gives instructions on how and what procedure needs to be followed in the class. Then the teacher analyses the situation in the class and tries to figure out which students have absorbed her instructions well.
- The teacher then divides students into various Cooperative groups. Then the students employ strategies of CSR and make use of helping aids like cue cards.
- In the last strategy, which is wrapping up, the teacher also plays a significant role. The teacher allocates students’ CSR learning logs and follow-up activities in order to check the progress of students.
The Four Collaborative Reading Strategies
The table shows CSR strategies and when they should be implemented.
|CSR Reading Strategies ||Implementation |
|1. Preview the text||Before reading|
|2. Click and clunk||During reading|
|3. Get the gist||During reading |
|4. Wrapping up||After reading,|
Collaborative Reading Strategies are explained in brief as follows:
Strategy 1: Preview the Text
The first strategy that a teacher uses to arouse a student’s interest in a topic is a preview. Under this approach, the teacher instructs students to brainstorm on keywords, pictures, headings, topics, and charts. The teacher motivates students to cooperate with each other and exchange thoughts.
Instructing teachers motivates children to express their inner thoughts that pop up when they first look at the text. This mental exercise helps in increasing the imagining power of the students. Children are encouraged by their teachers to foresee the future and establish an early opinion about the subject they will be reading in depth.
Note: This needs to be done before reading.
Strategy 2: Click and Clunk ( I get it – I do not get it)
Clicking and clunking is a teacher’s second teaching technique. With this method, kids are encouraged to read each passage slowly. A clunk occurs when a child pauses mid-sentence while reading a passage and encounters a challenging term. A clunk is any word or phrase that disrupts the flow of reading and makes it difficult to understand the material.
Clicking is the term used when a child reads a passage in a continuous stream and can understand it. It should be emphasized that every word that causes a youngster to lose focus is called a “clunk,” but “click” makes words easier to read and comprehend.
1. She has a fascinating personality.
2. She comes across as having an engrossing personality.
The child was able to read the first sentence without any pause. So, this is called click in this case. But in the second sentence, the child pauses at the word engrossing. So, the word engrossing becomes a barrier to understanding the sentence’s meaning; that’s why it is called clunk.
Note: This needs to be done during the reading.
The hindrances a child faces while reading could be dealt with by using fix-up strategies.
Fix-up strategies to fix Clunk are as follows:-
1. Rereading:- One of the easiest ways of fixing things up is reading. Going back and forth in a passage or topic could help in making sense of the words and meanings. But it is pivotal to keep in mind that the pace of reading should be slow and in linear motion.
2. Vocabulary Moderator: The student rereads the sentence twice or thrice and tries to make sense of it. To understand a word, a child tries to understand its adjoining words. If the child fails to make sense of it, a teacher tries to make him understand through prefixes and sounds. And in the final scene, she reveals the meaning to him.
3. Make Use of Graphic Support: If the child is not able to understand through words, he can see the graphic representation to gather information about the word. And the teacher must use graphic learning material when dealing with children with special needs.
4. Modify Reading Rate: Every child has a different pace for understanding things. If the passage is clicking appropriately, then the pace could be increased. And if the passage does not click so well, then the pace could be reduced.
Strategy 3: Get the Gist
Under this strategy, students are encouraged to express the central ideas of the passage or chapter in their own words. This reading activity is done to analyze whether the child can understand things or not. The child is motivated to exchange his ideas with his fellow group members to get more insight into the topic they just read.
Instructing teachers commands students to identify the main words, characters, or passages. It is a great learning experience for the children with disabilities. As they often fail to remember the sequence of events. This approach helps the students to recollect the information and increases their memory.
Note: This needs to be done during the reading.
Strategy 4: Wrapping Up
In this strategy, the students are taught to wrap up their lesson. The most significant part of this strategy is the formulation of questions and answers by students. The questions should cover all 5 Ws: what, where, when, why, and who.
And it must also cater to how? All these questions should cover the chapter in brief. This model helps in going through the chapter again, thus, revising what has been taught in the class.
Note: This needs to be done after the reading.
CSR Learning Logs
CSR learning Logs are an instrument of teaching that helps keep track of the progress of learning. The information is recorded before, during, and after the topic is taught in the class. It serves as the foundation for follow-up activities, a record of learning, and a future course of action.
The activities that are performed after the completion of the lesson are called follow-up activities. Follow-up activities are done to test the vocabulary and understanding of the students. These activities are usually performed in groups. The teacher can give different or similar activities to the groups depending on the structure of the class.
Example: One group could be given a list of words for which they have to find synonyms, while the other group could be given antonyms of the same list.
What are Cooperative Learning Groups?
When the students learn CSR reading skills from the teacher now, they are ready to implement those skills in cooperative groups. The instructing teacher delegates duties to the different members of the group. On the basis of individual skills, roles are allotted to students.
“Whether the goal is to increase student understanding of content, to build particular transferable skills, or some combination of the two, instructors often turn to small group work to capitalize on the benefits of peer-to-peer instruction. This type of group work is formally termed cooperative learning groups and is defined as the instructional use of small groups to promote students working together to maximize their own and each other’s learning” (Johnson, 2014).
Cooperative learning groups can be broadly divided into two categories: formal and informal. In the informal setting, students are grouped in pairs or in a group of three to five students.
This is done for a short duration of time, mainly in a class in order to perform duties assigned by the teacher. In a formal setting, students are grouped for a longer duration. The main task of this group is to perform group assignments.
What Roles Do Students and Teachers Play in CSR?
In Collaborative strategic reading and in Cooperative learning groups, students play an active role while the teachers take a passive role. The instructing teacher only intervenes at the time of giving instructions or when the children ask for assistance. The teacher acts as a facilitator, and the students take the lead to discover the topic.
The roles are allocated by the instructing teacher based on the abilities of students.
- Leader: The main role of the leader is to maintain the sequence of events in the activities. He instructs what to read and how it needs to be done. A leader is one who implements Collaborative reading strategies and helps others execute them.
- Clunk Expert: When the other participants forget the instructions or have trouble understanding the phrases, this expert assists them by displaying clunk cards.
- Announcer: He serves as the group’s primary cheerleader and encourages everyone to speak up one at a time. The announcer ensures that participants engage in events with enthusiasm.
- Encourager: The encourager keeps an eye on each member of the group and gives valuable feedback to all the members. He observes the group’s performance and provides solutions.
- Reporter: During the whole class discussion, he is the one who keeps the findings, questions, and answers in front of the class. And also present the best question created by the group.
The teacher fulfills her duty of teaching Collaborative learning strategies to the students. And the instructing teacher encourages cooperative learning in the students. Next, she evaluates the level of proficiency of students in CSR skills.
After the evaluation, she grants them roles according to their capacities. Then what she has to do is observe and assist when the need arises.
Advantages of Collaborative Strategic Reading
Collaborative Strategic Reading is a progressive approach to reading and comprehending things. It is filled with a positive attitude towards the defects of reading. It could be quite beneficial for people with reading issues. There are many advantages of CSR reading, which are highlighted as follows:
- CSR helps in the inclusion of the special needs reader.
- It helps in the development of cooperative relationships among the members of the group.
- Through interaction with other peers, the engagement of students increases as well as the vocabulary.
- Collaborative learning strategies help in building a strong knowledge of the subject matter.
- It brings out improvements in fluency, and identification of comprehension in students becomes easier.
- Through CSR reading, a leader is created since the student has the opportunity to lead their cooperative group.
- It allows students to learn from their own age group.
- Due to CSR, students’ dependence on others for reading and comprehension is reduced.
- It helps in increasing the morale of special needs students.
Disadvantages of Collaborative Strategic Reading
We cannot ignore the fact that collaborative strategic reading has often failed, even though it is often helpful. It couldn’t be used systematically since teachers lacked the necessary training. As a result, it had numerous negative effects on both kids and teachers as opposed to being beneficial. The disadvantages are as under;
- It is a time-consuming process of reading.
- CSR might result in the doubling of the efforts of a few students while others might remain unoccupied.
- Some people would prefer cheating on the tasks of others rather than participating in them. That would be a piece of baggage to the group.
- Every individual has a different approach to teaching, and there would be clashes if that didn’t match between students in the group.
- It is often quoted that one brings down the other. If there is a lethargic person in the group, he might also bring down the progress of others in his group.
- Working in a group is not a piece of cake because people usually indulge themselves in off-the-topic conversations.
- People have different paces for reading and doing work, so managing everyone becomes a task.
- Every individual has different personality traits. Some could be dominating, and a few could be submissive. Making a balance between both personalities becomes difficult.
- Students who are reserved by nature find it hard to express themselves in a group.
The Impact of Collaborative Strategic Reading Overtime
Several studies conducted in the field of CSR have vouched for its effectiveness in improving comprehension and metacognition among school-going children. It has turned out to be highly successful for children with special needs.
But, there is no sharp improvement in the reading and comprehension skills of general students. Although researchers have found that Collaborative reading strategies help empower and motivate students to be leaders of tomorrow. But the application of CSR still possesses a drawback of the scarcity of time which results in half the application of the strategy.
It is brought to our attention that teachers were unable to accurately implement this method in CSR reading due to a lack of competent instruction in this field. So, as a result of inadequate infrastructure and teacher preparation, pupils only receive around half of the instruction.
“CSR has positively impacted the standardized reading comprehension tests scores for average and high average achieving students” (Klingner & Vaughn, 1999).
In order to make the class more engaging, you can make use of hands-on learning methods. Both the teachers and students should work together to sharpen their reading skills. Collaborative reading strategies could be the best solution for dealing with reading deficiencies.