Developing a Good Reader’s Strategy
What does making mean? Making can mean different things to different people. In general, making is an action word used to describe the process of creating something by hand, skill, or material. The process of making can be accomplished by machine, human, or through modern technology. In some cases, making refers to something that is made but it is not actually made. In other cases, making is an action that involves making but there is no real creation involved.
Making in itself is a skill. In independent reading comprehension practice, making meaning is more important than understanding it. Independent reading comprehension practice helps teachers (and other students) learn how to focus on what’s being read and not on what’s being talked about. By understanding what’s being read, students gain access to information that can help them develop their understanding of the subject matter. Independent reading comprehension practice also helps students build their self-discipline and self-motivation to continue practicing what they’ve learned.
By providing students with opportunities to make inferences (based on what’s being read), students are given an opportunity to increase the accuracy of their implicit Reasoning. The best way to ensure that students understand an issue is to make inferences from what they know. In most cases, students make inferences because they’re curious. When students are given the opportunity to make inferences, however, they choose to use explicit instruction. For example, when reading an essay they don’t make inferences automatically; they listen carefully to the author’s speech, they analyze the paragraph, and then they try to infer what the speaker is trying to say.
Students who don’t have good readers make inferences in a variety of ways: they may analyze the meaning of what they read, they may compare and contrast the facts presented in the two texts, they may infer from the differences in the texts, they may infer from the author’s tone, and they may draw their own conclusions from what they see and hear. All of these methods of reasoning can fail if the student has not developed an understanding of how to differentiate between valid inferences and invalid inferences. By making it easier for students to make inferences from the information they already have, developing a good reader’s strategy will help teachers and paraprofessionals provide high quality instructional opportunities.
Making inferences is particularly important for paraprofessionals, especially those whose job requires them to demonstrate the logical and grammatical structure of a complex text. For example, a good jENKINS BESK FOR ENTRY / GOOD READERS Make inferences and then explain the logic behind them. This way, the teacher not only demonstrates the process by showing the reader how to make an inference, but he also uses the information the student has already gathered to show the reader why the conclusion the student is drawing is correct. For instance, if a student sees a sentence like
When making inferences, keep in mind that a reader may doubt the validity of your reasoning because he or she has not properly developed a full understanding of how language works. By taking steps to develop a full understanding of the grammatical structure of the text as well as the logic underlying your inferences, you can give more confidence to your students. In addition, by carefully preparing prior class discussions so that students are fully aware of the intended meaning of the text, you can ensure that the discussion will be productive and opening to all ideas, rather than a tense exchange of ideas which inevitably occurs when only one party is committed to an interpretation. Finally, having an open mind about the possibilities of drawing inferences from textual evidence will help you avoid developing false conclusions about people with significant cognitive disabilities.