The Center for Research on Learning based at the University of Kansas has been studying the best ways to help promote effective teaching for over 25 years. The center has developed numerous strategies that are placed into an overall program called the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM Strategies) In essence the Strategic Instruction Model is about promoting effective teaching and learning of critical content in schools. SIM strives to help teachers make decisions about what is of greatest importance, what we can teach students to help them to learn, and how to teach them well.
The Center for Research on Learning developed specific learning strategies for assisting students to understand information and solve problems. A learning strategy is a person’s approach to learning and using information. Students who do not know or use good learning strategies often learn passively and ultimately fail in school. Learning strategy instruction focuses on making the students more active learners by teaching them how to learn and how to use what they have learned to solve problems and be successful.
The Strategic Instruction Model Lends Itself to Game Playing
The Sentence Zone is supported by the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) Sentence Writing Strategy developed by the center. The Sentence Zone also incorporates color with a visual/kinesthetic method for teaching sentence writing through game playing.
The SIM Sentence Writing Strategy teaches kids to recognize and write 14 sentence patterns with four types of sentences: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex. Research results showed that students wrote an average of 65 percent complete sentences on the pretest and an average of 88 percent complete sentences on the posttest.
The Paraphrasing Strategy is designed to help students focus on the most important information in a passage. Students read short passages of materials, identify the main idea and details, and rephrase the content in their own words. That is exactly what students do when they play The Comprehension Zone. The Comprehension Zone is a visual/kinesthetic method for teaching kids of all ages how to read for meaning. They play for main idea, details, both, or to sequence what they have read or listened to.The Sentence Zone and The Comprehension Zone: Rocket Rap address how children acquire information. They include strategies for learning how to paraphrase critical information, picture information to promote understanding and remembering, write sentences and paragraphs, monitor their work for errors, and confidently approach and take tests.
Additional Reading Strategies Supported by the Strategic Instruction Model
No single strategy is a panacea. For example, there are reading strategies that help:
- Students figure out what a word is
(Making Spelling Sense and Making Spelling Sense II)
- Read fluently
(Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills)
- Comprehend what they’re reading
(Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills and The Comprehension Zone: Rocket Rap)
- Acquire vocabulary
(Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills)
- Understand the structure of text
(Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills, The Sentence Zone, and The Writer’s Easy Reference Guide)