by Beth Brennan
Director of Early Childhood Programs
Recently, I read an article called "Using Higher Order Questioning to Accelerate Students' Growth in Reading" by Debra S.Peterson and Barbara M. Taylor,* from this month's issue of The Reading Teacher. With regard to student reading, the authors stressed the importance of facilitating "high-order" discussion and writing to promote deeper thinking in students: So, in essence, teachers need to engage student readers beyond simple factual analysis and at more of an analytical, abstract or inferential level.
This is precisely the subject matter we tackle during grade-level meetings and professional development days at EMS. Our teachers regularly assess to what extent they are engaging students in rich and thoughtful reflection, or to what degree their students are thinking critically about the reading. The hardest part we find (perhaps for any educator) is having the willingness or confidence to move text discussions away from "teacher instructed" to "student centered." This is challenging; it is very easy to just provide answers, but it takes a great deal more effort to move students toward meaningful analysis or discussion. And, it is very important that we do so if we hope to promote and cement higher-order comprehension.