The Interpretive Mode
Strategies for Instruction
In this section you will find high-leverage strategies that support meaning-making and comprehension of complex discourse that are commonly used in classrooms. Interaction protocols and examples have been added to support teachers in providing students with structured opportunities to discuss and process texts, images, videos, oral discourse, etc.
In the descriptions of each strategy and protocol, there are detailed, step-by-step instructions and examples. Additionally, the purpose of each strategy and protocol is clearly stated. As you are planning classroom instruction using these resources, keep your instructional purpose in mind to select strategies and protocols that are aligned to that purpose and will support your learning goals for students.
Strategies to Elicit Prior Knowledge and Build Schema Before Reading, Viewing, Listening, or Before Initiating a Unit or Lesson
In order to support meaning-making and comprehension, it is essential, before engaging students in new learning to elicit prior knowledge and experiences and to build schema about the content or topic. This will prepare students to be able to connect the new information to existing conceptual structures. Below are some strategies teachers typically use to prepare the learners before they tackle complex text/discourse or before initiating a new unit or lesson. These strategies have been enhanced through the addition of student-to-student interaction protocols to provide opportunities for rich discussion and collaboration that scaffold comprehension and promote student engagement.
The guided image analysis helps students make connections between a topic and the students’ own experiences and background knowledge. Images convey large amounts of information and they support comprehension in the language classroom.
The anticipatory guide helps activate students’ prior knowledge, provides context, builds curiosity about the content, and creates connections between students’ experiences and the content.
The KWL strategy encourages students to access their prior knowledge about a topic (K and W) and to summarize new learnings (L).
The quick write strategy allows students to rapidly brainstorm and capture individual ideas in order to process information or prepare for a subsequent task.
Variation: Quick Draw
The text preview builds students’ curiosity, creates a context, and engages students in predicting and formulating questions. Previewing supports comprehension.
Strategies to Support Co-Construction of Meaning While Reading, Viewing, Listening
When listening actively, and reading and viewing closely, it is essential for students to understand the importance of making meaning, thinking critically, connecting key concepts, and developing ideas to discuss with others. In order to support students in these tasks, teachers support students by chunking long or complex texts/discourse into manageable sections and by guiding them in the meaning-making process. Some key instructional practices are: guiding students to closely read complex text, supporting them to analyze language choices in discourse, and teaching them about the organization and structure of the different text types.
See the Appropriate Scaffolding for Effective Student Interaction and Collaboration section for additional ideas on how to scaffold the reading of complex texts, including making input comprehensible and the take-five approach.
Below are some strategies you can use to support students as they tackle complex text/discourse, helping them to make meaning for themselves and to co-construct meaning with others during rich student-to-student interactions.
The purpose of the 10/2 strategy is to provide students time to process and digest input at certain intervals in order to keep students engaged in the learning and to prevent information overload.
Reciprocal Teaching encourages students to monitor their comprehension as they read and take responsibility for their learning, providing a supportive environment for readers as they engage with each other to make meaning of text. Additionally, reciprocal teaching supports metacognition as students think about their thought processes as they read and perform their reciprocal teaching roles.
This task requires students to use their knowledge about genre and text structure to reorganize a text that is presented out of order. Students need to learn first about the genre and work on text deconstructions in order to build the foundation to be able to engage in text reconstruction. This learning helps them later as they write their own pieces.
The purpose of a text deconstruction is to guide students to use a mentor text to learn about the organizational structure, key elements, and language of the different genres (recount narrative, informational/explanatory, or opinion/argument). This learning helps them later as they write their own pieces.
Reading, listening, viewing with a focus provides students a purpose for reading, listening, or viewing and helps focus their attention on key information.
Variations and scaffolds:
- Question Matrix
- Note-Taking Guide
Close reading helps learners to focus on the information provided in the words, phrases and sentences to understand what the text says. Close reading is a learning strategy that increases language competency and subsequently builds the learner’s confidence.
Strategies to Support Processing After Reading, Listening, or Viewing, and Applying Learning to Novel Situations
After reading, listening, or viewing, it is important to provide students with opportunities to review key points, practice and go deeper in the concepts/skills, develop metacognition, and process their learning with others. Click on the links below to explore the collaborative and productive mode sections for strategies and protocols that you can use to engage students in deeper processing and learning to support the interpretive mode
Find ideas for how to support your students in understanding, interpreting, and analyzing what they hear, read, or view.
Collaborative or Interpersonal Mode
Find ideas for how to support your students in interacting, collaborating, and negotiating meaning.
This content is made possible by a grant from the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE).
The Oracy Toolkit resources were produced by the San Diego County Office of Education, MEGA Department (2021). The digital resource was produced by the San Diego County Office of Education, Innovation Division (2021).