The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 2 - Page 43


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themselves, what they need to do to become better readers. This includes using reading logs and strategic and close reading to ensure that apprenticing readers are exploring readers – not necessarily for efferent purposes as defined by Beers (1998) – but as a pathway for aesthetic reading. Brene Brown (2010) reminds us that establishing boundaries leads to compassionate practice and establishes grounds for acceptance.

In my classroom, readers should utilize the following skills autonomously by the end of a school year:

● Personal book selection based self-awareness (time, length)

● Forward Planning (what books need to be read, wish to be read)

● Strategic Reading (self-monitoring comprehension)

● Close Reading (deliberate use of text to support response)

● Use and function of text (pleasure reading vs. information retrieval)

● Vocabulary Acquisition (Context of words, expansion of lexicon)

I emphasize these practices in my classroom, establishing a foundation for the development of individualized reading processes (Stygles, 2017). Too often, students are asked to read independently under the assumption they have acquired strategies and formulated their own reading process, with little guidance, feedback, or accountability. Those who have not often refuse to read (because books are boring) or regularly abandon books without being able to articulate a reason. These behaviors signal that students have not yet become self-regulating. As a result, shame develops because maturing readers soon realize they do not possess the skill-set necessary for reading success.

Unguided readers develop habits of her own construction that can potentially hinder and precipitate shame in later reading development. Consider for a moment working with a group students who have never learned reading strategies, such as clarifying. This strategy asks readers to pause during reading to determine if they can make meaning or if they are comprehending text successfully. For students who are accustomed to “page-turning,” that is reading words off a page numbly, my insistence on teaching the strategy tends to become arduous and shameful because I provide a contrast their image of what good reading is. After years of reading “successfully” without clarifying, why am I confusing their reading process? Even though strategic reading is necessary for readers tackling increasingly complex texts, reversing, or unlearning, a habitualized reading process is challenging and potentially shameful because it requires people to admit that the way they have been doing something is not acceptable.

A Narrow Definition of Comprehension?

For decades, reading programs and reading assessments have narrowed reading comprehension into literal comprehension components (e.g. theme, vocabulary) and critical thinking questions. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) shifted our instructional emphasis—and I dare say our interpretation of what readers need to demonstrate to prove comprehension. Close reading and text-dependent questions are components of this paradigm shift. In this context, readers remain dependent on traditional post-reading, question/answer-style reading response. I noticed that many readers quietly struggled with interaction with text because their “right or wrong” answers became a source of shame; their responses, affirmation, validation, or correctness, were contingent upon teacher approval. Comprehension is far more profound, as we, adult readers, realize. A reader’s schema (Pearson, 1984), reading experiences, and exposure to texts influence the interaction that reader has with a particular text. Because readers are unique, each transaction with text will always be different. For example, Jennifer cries when reading Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere (Lamana, 2015) because she recognizes the pain of losing a home, but Randy seems stoic, having endured the tragedy of hurricanes when he lived in the South. When we carefully acknowledge and respond with curiosity to a child’s emotional reaction to text, we encourage reading beyond answering a set