Ruddell begins the chapter by talking about the importance of engaging students with text in numerous ways, and I most definitely agree with this notion, though I don’t think it is an especially controversial or new idea. Then she goes into a great number of strategies, many of which seem so similar to previously discussed strategies that I’m not quite sure what the difference is. I admit that at this point, I am often getting lost in the alphabet soup of all these different strategies, and much of it seems very repetitive. What I think I will do is find every page with a “How to Do x” section on it and photocopy that to make an easy reference guide for strategies I might actually use in the classroom. When I look at all of these next to one another, perhaps the differences between the strategies will be clearer.
The strategy in this section that most intrigued me is the Three-Level Guide. What I like about it is that it engages all three levels of comprehension, and it can help demonstrate how the content is relevant to the students’ lives (if done properly). However, I don’t much like the idea of having a list of declarative statements that ask for a polar (agree/disagree) response. Even if they have to explain the response, I don’t think it is challenging students to think enough. I would rather pose these as questions, beginning with questions about what is literally in the text and broadening to more open-ended questions that require more inference and connections to previous knowledge. When I look at it this way, it is essentially the same as a strategy I have read about elsewhere called QAR (Question/Answer Relationships.)
I looked in the index and found that Ruddell discusses QAR in chapter 10, a chapter on diversity. While I’m sure QAR is useful for addressing diversity issues, I find it very useful in almost any context. The same is true of many of these strategies. At times, it seems like the relationship between the alleged topic of each chapter and the strategies Ruddell discusses in the same chapter is rather arbitrary.
Ruddell, M. (2008). Teaching content reading and writing (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.