Some ideas on teaching reading and English from The Reading Teacher, a publication of the International Reading Association (IRA).
How improve vocabulary instruction?
Students learn to stop at words they don't know and try to figure out the best way to gain their meanings. [RayS: Worth thinking about.] One method is to teach groups of related words. JF Baumann, et al. RT (Oct. 007). 108-122.
What is wrong with our teaching of comprehension?
Comprehension is expected, not taught. We don't teach comprehension strategies. One strategy is to teach students how to understand the structure of narrative text. S Dymock. RT (Oct. 07), 161-167.
How improve comprehension?
Concentrate on the first three sentences of each chapter. Helps to get students thinking about what is going to happen in the text. DN Morgan and JL Williams. RT (Oct. 07), 168-172.
Other topics: Helping boys to change their attitudes toward literacy and to define their masculinity. Teachers working with 4th- and 5th- and 6th-grade students need a "tool kit" of techniques for working with content materials. Does not give specific suggestions for what the too kit should contain. Suggests four practices in teaching ESL (English as a second language) students: Explicit code and comprehension instruction. 2. Language-rich instruction--speaking and listening. 3. Socio-culturally informed instruction--students translate for parents. 4. Additive literacy instruction--focus on developing the native language.