Scaffolding Comprehension and Vocabulary Skills

Today, we have a post from Courtney Randolph, SLP at Kerrick Elementary. She has graciously agreed to share with us two documents that she uses for educating teachers about language development:

I developed these two tools to present to regular education teachers during PLC’s.  They were created as a result of many questions and concerns regarding comprehension and vocabulary skills in the classroom.  I found after many conversations that the concept of scaffolding had often been mentioned to teachers but they did not have a concrete tool or tangible resource to use.  Many regular education teachers admittingly didn’t know where to go beyond basic wh questions in order to elicit appropriate responses or gage extent of understanding.  I used this document to create the understanding that there is a “basement” where knowledge and comprehension do exist in children, and taught them how to access it.  Explaining that comprehension isn’t cut and dry and that it can be a very complex process that takes modeling from point of comprehension in conjunction with scaffolding the complexity of questions upward. I have observed teachers also feel relieved when a child can respond appropriately at any of these levels, they see that learning has taken place, and that the student just needs assistance in learning how to respond at the desired level of independence.

 Scaffolding for Comprehension Document:

*Notice the arrows in this document scaffold child from most independent level of response to least independent level of response, scaffold upward for skill teaching.

If child cannot answer comprehension questions independently…model for the teacher how to scaffold all the way down until a point of understanding is exhibited by the child, then model for them how to work their way back up the scaffolding chain so that the child has been modeled the expectation of what independent responses look and sound like.  If that does not happen, it is an indicator that the child did not understand the presented material.  At this point the presentation may need to be modified.  It may also be an indicator of more significant problems with comprehension skills.  That is where a request for screening may be initiated.  It may also be important to remind the teacher to use this tool with a child in a variety of learning situations over a given period of time in order to establish patterns for growth or patterns of concern.

Scaffolding for Vocabulary Document:

*Notice the arrows in the vocabulary document begin at the line 2/3 down the page and scaffold upward in order to aid in teaching vocabulary comprehension.

This document is meant to outline increasing levels of support and teaching in order to increase vocabulary understanding in children.  It is a little more self-explanatory.  Review with the teacher from the baseline upward for struggling students and from the baseline line down ward for grade level appropriate students.  Again, it may also be important to remind the teacher to use this tool with a child in a variety of learning situations over a given period of time in order to establish patterns for growth or patterns of concern.

–C.G.Randolph M.S., CCC-SLP

 

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