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Trouble Understanding What You Read? Part Two: The Game Solution

December 9th, 2008

There is another solution to this that I use along with the Ten Minutes to Better Studying Skills. This solution can also be used very effectively at home, with a tutor, in a resource classroom, or in an elementary, middle school, or high school class.

I have learned from years of experience and research that game playing helps my students to relax while learning. When you are in a relaxed state you are able to concentrate better and retain information better.

“Relaxation techniques will improve concentration, learning, and overall memory ability.” Gary Small, M. D., Professor of Psychiatry & Bio-behavioral Sciences at UCLA

So, I play two games to work on vocabulary and comprehension. One, The Sentence Zone works on both building vocabulary and grammar skills. In fact, a definition cheat sheet is provided for the more difficult words. In the game the students learn how to make grammatically correct sentences. They also learn the 6 basic sentence types in the English language.

The second game, The Comprehension Zone: Rocket Rap works on helping students with how to pull out the main idea and details of what they read. Both games provide plenty of modeling where students can improve their vocabulary and comprehension while playing. Following is an article I recently wrote regarding The Comprehension Zone: Rocket Rap.

Improve Vocabulary and Comprehension With Game Playing

Do you ever watch your child take notes from what they are reading or read the notes they have taken and wonder why in the world they write that note and miss the important part of the passage? Were they just writing anything down so they could say they were finished? Did they even think about it?

Sometimes my children and my students weren’t sure about which notes to write in the fill-in-the-blank graphic organizing forms. Sometimes they put in a very small detail and left out the most important fact. For instance, they would put down that Jupiter has a ring of dust around it and miss that it is the biggest planet. Or that Washington cut down the cherry tree and didn’t tell a lie but miss that he was the first president.

To help them to become really good note takers, I realized they needed practice with finding the main idea as well as supporting details. I knew that they would really get good at this skill if they had a lot of modeling and practice. So I developed a comprehension game where they would get a lot of practice with both reading and listening comprehension.

In fact, research from the Center for Research on Learning developed a strategy called the Paraphrasing Strategy to improve reading comprehension. The way The Comprehension Zone is played is supported by their research.

The game format helped my kids learn how to read for meaning while they played a game. The object of the game is to either find the main idea, the details, both of those, or to sequence what they had read.

Being able to play a game while learning those skills really helped improved the quality of their note taking and writing. It also improved their understanding of new vocabulary. For discounts, check out TheReading Pack.

I hope this has been helpful.

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., Board Certified Educational Therapist #10167

P.S.: Feel free to pass this post to anyone you think might enjoy it.

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