Sunday, 16 August 2015

Effective Oral Communication Skills

Effective communication skills showcase various levels of communication and thinking ability.  This post talks about a system that helps students communicate by learning to retell, relate and reflect.  Each step requires more experience than the previous step.  When students retell, they are able to discuss or write an original story using their own knowledge.  Relating to the original story allows students to make personal connections.  Finally, being able to reflect on the meaning of the story engages students in the ability to infer what the story is about (the heart of the message) and predict any consequences or future implications for that story.

     Students have been accustomed to retelling texts and relating texts to their own personal experiences.  I have found that when students are asked to reflect upon their experiences or responses, there is generally a pause.  I have worked diligently on building these reading strategies in my classroom.  I often begin with a graphic organizer such as a train to assist in retelling a story.  In order to teach retelling, it must be understood.  What is retelling and its purpose? 
Retelling will give you insight into a child’s comprehension process of a text.  Retelling can help you determine:
- How much or what a student remembers
- What a student considers to be important details
- How a student sequences information
- How a student organizes information

This train graphic organizer assists students in retelling a story.  I have also used this retelling bookmark when conducting guided reading sessions. 

 Click on the bookmark link below to download your free copy:

Relating will also give you insight into a student’s comprehension process of a text.  Relating can help you determine:
- How a student connects to a text
- If a student can recall a personal experience that connects to the present text

Here's a sample of a relating task card based on the characters.  Students learn to relate to the text based on separate categories:  characters, setting, problem & solution and order of events.

Here are some relating prompts:

- This reminds me of...
- I remember (when)...
- This is like...
- This sounds like...
- This makes me think of...
- I can identify with this...
Reflecting will give you insight into a text.  Reflecting can help you determine:
- If a student can draw conclusions about a text
- If a student can make future predictions or inferences

Reflecting is often the most difficult task.  However, breaking down the elements of a story assists in the reflection process.  

Here are some reflection prompts:

- I wonder if....
- I believe that...
- I realize that... 
- I know that...
- My predictions are...
- I understand... 

Retelling, relating and reflecting are all important steps in the reading process.  Better responses are created once all students have grasped these elements.

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