Myth: Kids can read the words out loud and they can recall what they just read on a literal level. Therefore, they can read.
Reality: Poor readers are often good word callers. That’s how their reading issues slip by. Recall is not true comprehension. Students need to explain the meaning and importance to what they have just read and connect new ideas to previous information before we can call it comprehension.
Myth: The kids are smart enough, but they don’t put out the effort necessary to be successful in class and on tests.
Reality: The kids are smart enough, but they lack the systematic thinking routines, and they have large gaps in their schema. They often don’t know how to use background knowledge to build deeper understanding of what they read. They do not effectively use working memory to build comprehension. They often read through difficult words or confusing parts of the text rather than applying strategies to fix their comprehension.
Myth: Teaching test-taking strategies is more important than teaching comprehension strategies.
Reality: Kids make mistakes and poor choices on standardized tests because they lack word knowledge, word attack skills and background knowledge about the topics. They can’t deduce an answer without understanding what each answer choice means.
Myth: Students don’t learn anything from reading easy books.
Reality: When students read texts that they can read with 99 or 100 percent accuracy, they improve their stamina and fluency.
Myth: Teaching literary elements is the same as teaching comprehension.
Reality: Comprehension requires a complex interaction of thinking strategies and routines. Working on isolated literary elements won’t help students understand the text. In fact, this approach will frustrate many readers.
Myth: Traditional skill are the what the kids need.
Reality: Traditional skills like cause and effect and sequence of events are actually post-reading tasks. They are a way of demonstrating comprehension and depend on the student actually understanding the text they have read. Telling students to find the main idea isn’t the same as teaching students how to find the main idea. Students need to learn how to think while they read before we work on using information after they read.
Myth: Teaching to the Common Core State Standards will make kids better readers.
Reality: The standards largely describe what students should be able to do with information they have read. They don’t address how we should teach students to understand they reading.