Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hands-On Main Idea: Comprehension Manipulatives

Have you ever wished that there were manipulatives to teach reading?  There are so many math manipulatives out there to make math concepts so much easier to grasp.  I wished so badly there were manipulatives to teach reading concepts, so I developed my own.  The concept of using manipulatives to teach comprehension is huge. It supports brain research about incorporating multiple senses while learning.  I have always wondered why something as abstract as comprehension had not been made concrete in some way.  This is often what is needed for struggling readers or students that have additional reading concerns.

These ideas have worked so well with my students over the years.   They have been used with high-achieving, below grade level, and autistic students in my classroom. With this method, students are able to use manipulatives which helps them see main idea and feel what main idea means.  

 The entire document includes lesson plans, games, and more.Click Here

Step one in teaching main idea in a hands-on way is to make sure that students know what main idea means.  This can be done using bean bags, blocks, or printable manipulatives.

The big idea with understanding what main idea means is to understand the concept that it tells what most of the text is about.  While holding mostly objects of the same color, ask students to tell which color they see the "most" in front of them.  Explain that this is similar to main idea.  Main idea means to tell what "most" of the sentences are about.  By actually holding the bean bags (or other objects), seeing them, and hearing the meaning, the information is stored in many sections of the brain.  I have used this technique with high achieving, below grade level, and autistic students.  It works like a charm.  

This is just one step in using main idea manipulatives.  The complete set of lesson plans and printable manipulatives teach students the meaning of main idea, how to identify it in a text, and how to state it.  After teaching students using these manipulatives, I scaffold instruction by having students practice main idea with authentic text and other traditional methods.  Not only are there lesson plans, the activities provided in the document can be used as a differentiated main idea center.  To access the entire document, lesson plans, and additional activities, click this link Click Here

More researched-based comprehension manipulatives and teaching tips will be featured soon so stop back by!

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