challenge as teachers is to help students gain understandings that they can apply to future literacy tasks. To do this, we must promote transfer by teaching skills that will apply to all texts rather than teaching
skills for specific texts. Smith and Wilhelm discuss two approaches that promote transfer.
Identifying and then teaching specific demands of each type
example, detective stories require readers to identify clues, recognize red herrings, eliminate suspects, etc (Tovani page
24). Teaching students to read with these traits in mind improves comprehension.
Identifying and reinforcing strategies readers must apply to
example, making inferences about characters.
accomplish transfer, teachers must move away from more generic skills and lessons promoted through traditional textbooks to more specific skills and lessons focused on identified comprehension
strategies. Mastering these strategies will take many repeated exposures and
opportunities to practice them. It may be helpful to decide which types of texts would be most appropriate at each grade level
and focus on teaching those well instead of sampling several different text types.
Instructional Model for Transfer
of the two transfer methods you will use in this unit.
Introduce the strategies
while enabling students to realize their competence with those strategies by using texts in which they are interested
and over which they feel some control.
Help students develop conscious control over the strategies by naming the strategies and how they are used and by providing
plenty of practice with increasingly difficult texts.
to independent application of the strategies by providing and then removing scaffolding.
For further reading and unit examples, see Going with the Flow, Chapter 2.