Over the past decade NCLB has required teachers to focus on decoding, factual recall and comprehension of the text read. The CCSS is asking teachers to focus on the higher level comprehension skills. Remember Bloom’s Taxonomy? Today’s student have not had explicit instruction in analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing textual information. Students will need these skills broken down into easily manageable steps and practice them over and over. Teachers will need new ways to assess these skills – fact recall and comprehension are much easier to “grade.” I believe the use of graphic organizers can help scaffold progress toward there more difficult skills.
When I think back to my days in the classroom, I remember getting students to “think” about something they had read was always difficult. The typical answer was “I don’t know.” I recommend having students use a “Reading Notebook” in which they keep all their thoughts, questions, and thinking activities which could then be used to monitor the growth of each student. Teachers will need to provide direct instruction in these thinking skills and for a while activities in their reading notebooks may need to be done together. Then slowly start backing off direct instruction one skill at a time.