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Building Online Reading Comprehension


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Building Online Reading Comprehension

  1. 1. Building Online Reading Comprehension Emily Kissner February 2014
  2. 2. Agenda A look at reading comprehension Why online reading comprehension matters Skills for online reading comprehension Creating multimedia experiences Exploring and connecting
  3. 3. Reading Comprehension Levels of Text Processing (van Dijk and Kintsch) Readers can process text at three different levels: Surface level: The level of the way that individual letters and words look on a page Textbase: Understanding the “gist” of a text and the main propositions Situations model: Synthesizing the author’s propositions with the reader’s background knowledge
  4. 4. Reading Comprehension Simple View (Hoover and Gough) Reading skill is attributable to two areas: Decoding The ability to automatically decode words Language Comprehension The ability to understand oral and written language
  5. 5. Reading Comprehension These theories translate into everyday classroom activities such as: • • • • • Decoding drills Summarizing Visualizing Inferring Vocabulary instruction
  6. 6. What happens online? At first, it was easy to think that online reading would be just like offline reading
  7. 7. ….but it’s not. Which means that much of our conventional thinking about the nature of reading comprehension—and comprehension instruction—will have to be rethought.
  8. 8. Reading Online Many adolescents report spending roughly equal amounts of time reading online and offline (Roberts et al, 2005). Students are now expected to be able to locate, read, and understand text from the Internet more than ever before.
  9. 9. Reading Online Texts Using a search engine to locate information of interest
  10. 10. Reading Online Texts Modifying search terms to find the best results
  11. 11. Reading Online Texts Looking at sources of information besides text
  12. 12. How do people read online? Early researchers thought that hypermedia texts would lead to greatly enhanced comprehension, as readers could easily click on words and concepts and read in a non-linear, associative way (Dobson and Willinsky, 2009).
  13. 13. How do people read online? However, people soon found that this is not the case. Lots of links can confuse readers—especially those who don’t have a great deal of background knowledge for the topic. In fact, no two readers read digital texts in the same way—each reader creates their own “constructed text”
  14. 14. How do people read online? Studies have shown that readers use a different eye movement pattern when reading online texts, using more of a radial eye pattern instead of a linear left-to-right pattern (Walsh, 2010).
  15. 15. “Kids are so good at this!” The cliché of the “digital native” is so wellentrenched that many teachers think students don’t need explicit instruction in online reading comprehension.
  16. 16. “Kids are so good at this!” There is evidence of poor transfer between the informal social skills that students develop on their own and the more formal academic online reading they are expected to use (Littlejohn, Beetham, and McGill, 2012).
  17. 17. Visual Literacy In a study of college students, Eva Brumberger asked students which of these images had been digitally altered. 66% said “probably or definitely altered” False Color Composite Satellite Image of Fairfax County. Courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay from Space Program. Available at http:// gemaps.htm. 80% said “probably or definitely altered” Bitterroot National Forest, Montana. Photo courtesy of John McColgan, Alaska Forest Service. (2000). Available at http://
  18. 18. Skills for Online Readers Online reading and offline reading skills are correlated, but online reading skill seems to be more complex and require more decision-making and critical reading (Malloy et al, 2010). Some evidence shows that low-income students may use less effective search strategies, causing them to locate less credible information (Leu et al, 2010).
  19. 19. Building Collaboration Research seems to indicate that students learn Internet reading strategies best when they have the chance to learn from each other within the structure of a challenging task created by the teacher (Henry et al, 2012).
  20. 20. Planning for instruction A useful way to think about structuring online reading comprehension instruction is to use the framework of the four roles for reading (Hirsh, 2000): -Code Breaker -Meaning Maker -Text User -Text Analyst
  21. 21. Code Breaking With traditional texts, instruction on “code breaking” focuses on phonics instruction, word meanings, and text features. Online texts add new layers of codes that readers must figure out—codes of gestures to get from one screen to another, new word meanings, and different text features.
  22. 22. Code Breaking Navigation: In digital text, this includes scrolling, moving between pages, understanding the meaning of the cursor, and even knowing which applications are running what (Hinrichsen and Coombs, 2013).
  23. 23. Scaffolding Code Breaking Build collaboration in the computer lab with the strategy of “underexplaining”— tell students what you want them to do, but don’t tell them how to get there.
  24. 24. Code Breaking Stylistics: Looking at the design of pages, including transitions, textface, and illustration styles.
  25. 25. Code Breaking
  26. 26. Code Breaking Modalities: Understanding the different modes of online texts— games, databases, educational sites—and how they have different characteristics.
  27. 27. Code Breaking
  28. 28. Meaning Making In traditional narratives, meaning making refers to putting together the ideas in a text to figure out the main storyline or main ideas.
  29. 29. Meaning Making In digital texts, piecing together the narrative can be more tricky. Texts are made by multiple authors. Comments unfold over time. There may be conflicting viewpoints even within one text (Hinrichsen and Coombs, 2013).
  30. 30. Meaning Making Students do seem to learn online reading strategies more readily in a collaborative environment than within the structure of a highly structured lesson.
  31. 31. Text Users Another reading role is that of text user— someone who finds the right text for their purposes, solves problems, and uses what they learn to create new works.
  32. 32. Text Users
  33. 33. Text Users
  34. 34. Text Users -What do we notice? -What can we use this text to accomplish? -Who would like this text?
  35. 35. Text Analysts Who wrote this text, anyway? Even though students seem to dissociate their academic selves from their personal technology use, these two exist very closely together in digital media.
  36. 36. Text Analysts Readers need to be able to choose or reject resources and deconstruct digital messages.
  37. 37. In the Classroom Model decoding, meaning making, and text analysis with digital think-alouds Use “sheltered” activities to help students negotiate multimodal texts Frolyc Teacher blogs and website links Map activities Create challenging activities to foster collaboration and inquiry
  38. 38. Digital Think-Alouds I notice… I wonder… I am thinking… This text is like another text because…
  39. 39. Digital Think-Alouds How does this help students become… -code breakers? -meaning makers? -text users? -text analysts?
  40. 40. In the Classroom Model decoding, meaning making, and text analysis with digital think-alouds Use “sheltered” activities to help students negotiate multimodal texts Frolyc Teacher blogs and website links Map activities Create challenging activities to foster collaboration and inquiry
  41. 41. Sheltered Links
  42. 42. Multimodal Activities Create and publish multimodal activities directly to student iPads.
  43. 43. Multimodal Activities This provides students with experience using preselected multimodal activities as a learning tool.
  44. 44. In the Classroom Model decoding, meaning making, and text analysis with digital think-alouds Use “sheltered” activities to help students negotiate multimodal texts Frolyc Teacher blogs and website links Map activities Create challenging activities to foster collaboration and inquiry
  45. 45. Collaborative Activities “Collaborative” doesn’t equal group—for example, students can work on their own projects in a collaborative environment.
  46. 46. Collaborative Activities -What collaborative activities do you see working well to build online reading comprehension? -How can readers transition between the four roles (code breaker, meaning maker, text user, text analyst) in the context of a larger activity?
  47. 47. More Resources  Visit my blog at for links to resources
  48. 48. References Bearne et al. 2007. Castek, Jill, L. Zawilinski, J. G. McVerry, W. I. O'Byrne, and D. Leu. (2008). The new literacies of online reading comprehension. Brumberger, Eva. (2011). Visual Literacy and the Digital Native: An Examination of the Millenial Learner. Journal of Visual Literacy. Dobson, Teresa, and J. Willinsky. 2009. Digital Literacy. In D. Olson and N. Torrance (Eds), Cambridge Handbook on Literacy. Henry, Laurie, J. Castek, W.I. O’Byrne, and L. Zawalinski (2012). Using Peer Collaboration to Support Reading, Writing, and Communication: An Empowerment Model for Struggling Readers. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 28.
  49. 49. References Hinrichsen, Juliet, and A. Coombs. 2013. The five resources of critical digital literacy: a framework for curriculum integration. Research in Learning Technology, v. 21. Littlejohn, A., Beetham, H., and McGill, L. 2012. Learning at the digital frontier: a review of digital literacies in theory and practice. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28:6. Malloy, Jacquelynn, J. Castek, and D. Leu. 2010. Silent Reading and Online Reading Comprehension. In Revisiting Silent Reading: New Directions for Teachers and Researchers, E. Hiebert and D. Reutzel, eds. Walsh, Maureen. 2010. Multimodal Literacy: What Does It Mean for Classroom Practice? Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 33:3.