In "Teaching Expository Text Structures Through Information Trade Book Retelling" by Barbara Moss we as readers are introduced to the concept of expository texts and how we as teachers can teach these texts. In this article Moss explains what the strategy of retelling is, how to teach expository texts and how teachers can assess students' retellings.
To start off it is important as a reader and a teacher to understand why it is important that we teach students about expository texts and according to Moss she believes that "teachers are aware of the demands of living in an era when information is increasing at an alarming rate" (710). Moss also states that "mounting pressures for improved students standardized test performance have resulted in increased attention to exposition" (710). I agree with Moss in that we as teachers understand living in an era with information increasing at an alarming rate because as a teacher we can all remember a time five or ten years ago that information was not as readily available as it is today. We as teachers also are able to think about the internet and how its role in text is becoming larger and larger. Moss's second statement about standardized test also is very accurate because according to Daniels "70 -80% of standardized reading test content is expository" (710). This once again shows us as teachers why we should be teaching about expository text and learning how to successfully teach this text is very important for our students.
Expository text used with retelling has "shown promise for engaging students with literature as well as comprehension of expository text structures" (710). This last sentence shows teachers, administrators, parents and all others concerned about literacy development how important teaching about expository text is to students. Some of the reasons according to Moss why we should teach about expository texts is because it helps students in the "digital world with the ability to use the Internet quickly, efficiently an affectively which is important to success at school and in the workplace" (711). Think about this statement, how many times a day do you use the Internet and how often is this text expository. When you stop to think about this statement you realize nearly almost all of the sites you visit are of expository text and learning about this text is largely important to our students. While some teachers are teaching expository text we need to remember to expose students early to this type of text (Kindergarten is recommended in the article) and teach these students to read this type of text. When teaching this text we need to teach the common structures of "description, sequence, comparison and contrast, cause and effect and problem and solution" (711). As literacy instructors we know that it is important that this text must have authentic literacy tasks and must provide rich opportunities for the students.
One of these rich opportunities that is authentic is the use of retelling which is the noted strategy in this article. Retellings are "oral or written postreading recalls during which children relate what they remember from reading or listening to a particular text, recalling as much information as possible not just the main points" (711). As a teacher we can see that retellings seem easy but we need to remember that students are recalling what they had read which helps with their overall comprehension of the text. These retellings will also help students develop summarization skills that are important in later grades as well as flexibility to read all types of texts. When students retell they become actively engaged with a texts which we as literacy teachers have learned how important it is to become engaged with a text. Engagement with a text helps to increase motivation as we have learned in class from Cambourne's conditions. According to this article students can also "sense text organization and develop their oral language abilities. This type of retelling is also very beneficial to ELL students" (712). As teachers we know it is important to find a strategy that could be adapted for all students as this article explains this text shows that this retelling works and helps ELL students.
Looking at the type of books that should be selected when using the retelling strategy we need to use "information trade books" and should be selected based on "literacy quality", "books that don't overwhelm students with difficult vocabulary" and finally "books that clearly illustrate the text structure being taught" (712). As literacy teachers we can also align this information with research and other information that we have learned in class about align books to students making sure that the books are developmentally appropriate as well as using the five finger rule for vocabulary. A thing to note when teaching about expository texts is that all structures should be taught individually with the easier ones being taught first and gradually moving on to the more difficult text structures.
Learning about this retelling strategy is very important as a teacher and we need to remember that students will not automatically know how to retell so as teachers we must model this retelling and then have students practice retelling as a large group and then move to a small group for retelling. A suggested method in this article of retelling is a "cumulative retelling which is ideal for small groups; the 1st student in the group retells the first events from the story, the 2nd student retells the next series of events but repeats the earlier events and this process continues until the entire text has been retold" (715). As literacy teachers in ELED 3102 we have learned about the whole part whole read aloud lesson plan format which would work wonderful when using this strategy for expository texts. Looking at this lesson plan we also know that there must be a way to assess students for the work they have done. In this article Moss suggests using a "scale that is a holistic evaluation of retelling" this scoring method would acknowledge the "student's response as a whole, with all individual, unique features and richness, ability to identify main ideas, details, overall text structure and infer beyond text, summarize and relate text to own life" (716). Using this way of assessment we as literacy teachers would acknowledge that fact that all students are unique and not all retellings will be the same. We also need to remember that we want to push students to make text to self-connections to make the text more authentic for their own life. This assessment will also allow teachers the ability to see how these students comprehend the text and if they will need further work with expository text.
mentioned in this blog previous it is important that we implement this strategy
of retelling for comprehension through the use of the whole-part-whole lesson
plan which allows for teacher modeling and then student practice. This article is very important to refer to as
a strategy guide for help when we as literacy teachers are introducing
expository texts into our classroom someday. I personally believe that this strategy is effective and could be beneficial to teachers when introducing expository texts.