One of my strongest desires as a mom is to have my children learn how to analyze what they read. Regardless of whether it’s the Bible, a classic novel, a biography, a short story, or real life happenings. Having the proper tools on hand will help them with this endeavor. In the first place, children of the youngest age are capable of making observations and reasoning. Grant it, you may need to guide them a little in some instances, but they are quite capable of this in many areas. In the second place, this helps students of all ages organize information. This is a valuable ability for them to develop. With this in mind, the ultimate goal is for them to learn how to see the cause to effect of anything they read and study.
Four Tools for Student Comprehension
It’s natural for us parents to ask, “What good is it for my children to read if they aren’t able to comprehend what they’re reading?” For this reason, we are blessed to be able to use various comprehension methods and strategies in our homeschools to reach this goal.
- The Cause to Effect Organizer
- The Sequence Chain
- The T-Chart
- The Story Circle
The Cause to Effect Organizer
One of my first go-to tools is the Cause to Effect Organizer. An important skill for our children to have is the ability to recognize what happened in a story and why it happened. As a result, their minds become trained over time to consider they what and why in the Bible, stories of various genre, history, and even about how to think this way in all spheres of life.
The Sequence Chain
Another key tool is the Sequence Chain. This helps students to organize in proper order the series of events they read about. This can be done either by writing the events down, by drawing illustrations or sketches depicting the events, or both. In any case, it helps students to see the cause leading up to the effect of an event. In addition, it aids them in them in processing and retaining the information they have read.
If your students need to compare and contrast between two topics, the T-Chart is a fabulous tool to use. This, too, helps them to see the cause to effect. Examples are:
- Internal and External qualities of a character,
- Wants and Needs of a character,
- Needs and Blessings in the character’s life.
The Story Circle
Young children seem to have the ability to naturally summarize stories. Have you found that to be the case with any of your children? Even if you find that yours are a bit wordy, the Story Circle’s purpose is to help students summarize what they’ve learned. Though it’s a summary, they still can see the cause to effect.
What to do With Reluctant Writers
These tools, with the exception of the Sequence Chain and Story Circle perhaps, do primarily use writing. Some students may balk at the idea because they prefer to do art. While art may not easily be incorporated in place of words, the notebook pages can still have individual flair. Under these circumstances, I keep a couple of tubs with stickers, washi tape, and various art supplies handy for my students to decorate around the edges of their notebook pages. Often times, I allow them to begin the artist processes first. Then my reluctant writers tend to be ready to write down the observations.
My Experience With My Students
As you may already know, we use the Noah Plan® curriculum for grades K-3rd. This top notch curriculum first introduced me to using these tools to my young children. The use of these tools date back to when our oldest was in first grade; he is now in High School. Needless to say, I’m impressed with how my children have been learning as they utilize these organizational tools in their learning. One of my hopes is that they will continue to do so throughout their lives.