Embedded Reading

Simplify, Scaffold, Succeed!!

Goal #1 Closing the “perception” gap

The neat thing about Embedded Reading is that although the concept is simple, there are a myriad of ways to use it. The way a reading is created and used should depend upon the goal. I’ll post a few goals, one at a time in separate posts. Here’s the first: RAISING PERCEIVED READING LEVELS (ie building confidence!!)

As second language teachers we are always dealing with two reading levels for each student: the ability level and the perceived ability level. As with most things, perception is often reality and the functional level is the perceived ability level of the students. (I don’t know if there is research about the affective filter in readers, but that would be fascinating to know….we’ve all seen it anecdotally!!) So when we pull out a novel, their reaction is “I can’t read that!!”, even though we know that they can.

Embedded Reading was originally developed in order to narrow the gap between what students CAN comprehend and what they THINK that they comprehend.

The first version is written to be a clear, comprehensible summary or outline of the text. Each additional version adds information or details by injecting additional words or structures into the reading. A combination of easily recognizable text and slightly more challenging text is added. There should not be an enormous leap between successive versions of the text.

Ideally, with this type of reading, the third or fourth version of the text should be at a level that is the true ability level of the majority of the class. The teacher may want to create a version or two that are at the ability level of the more advanced readers in the class.

This type of embedded reading doesn’t need a lot of “activity” to go with it, if the students are engaged in the reading!! If they are reading and comprehending and engaged…life is good!!! Ideally, students could read independently through the levels and become better readers. It is a gradual, gentle way to get students reading longer, more detailed, more complex text that uses language that they are already familiar with. The more challenging versions may include unfamiliar cognates or a few new vocabulary words that will be recognizable in context.

The reality is that we are reading in a classroom, with a number of distractions and a need to monitor who is engaged and who is not. THAT is the reason for activities that go along with the reading. So the teacher can choose from a variety of activities:
• Translate out loud.
• “Circle” information.
• Act out the reading.
• Illustrate the reading.
• T/F questions
• Modified multiple choice questions ( two or three choices rather than four)
• Multiple choice questions
• Predicting the information/action in the next version.
Or WHATEVER reading activities you choose that will allow you to monitor comprehension AND maintain student interest.
By spiraling through the versions of the story, we can keep the students’ interest, get them to read far greater amounts of text and build confidence! Reading longer texts, with more complex language, will help them to become better at visualizing, connecting, interacting and predicting….along with a number of other reading skills. Utilizing a variety of activities with the reading can help students to develop higher-level thinking skills and keep students engaged.

One goal Embedded Reading is to increase students’ perception of their own reading abilities.
When this is the goal, the versions should contain mostly words and structures which are familiar to the students.
Each version of the text is slightly longer and more complex than the previous version.
A motivated reader could progress through the versions of the reading independently.
Activities used are designed so that the teacher check for comprehension and keep students’ engaged.



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