We Provide Highly Reliable & Effective Tutoring Solutions
Baseline Human & Educational Services Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit, minority-owned and operated community development service provider committed to improving outcomes at all levels for urban families, educators, and children in underserved communities.
Baseline’s mission is to provide underserved urban citizens with the support they require to improve and sustain a quality, self-sufficient lifestyle while becoming positive contributors to their community and society.
The vision guiding Baseline is one of committed program expansion within underserved communities undertaken to address food insecurity, academic learning needs, and other community care programs for students, seniors, and veterans.
How Are We Different?
We Focus on Reading, Writing & Academic Content
Our intent is to teach students to read and write better and to use reading and writing as aids to learning academic content. Accordingly, initially, we teach students a reading intervention strategy to accelerate their reading competence; then we integrate learning tools into academic content learning.
First Stage: Improving Reading Competence
All students will learn to use Reciprocal Teaching strategies to construct meaning from text and from mathematical symbols using the format of a learning dialogue among the tutor and a small group of students.
What is Reciprocal Teaching?
Reciprocal Teaching is a venerable strategy that accelerates students’ learning competence as it teaches students to probe text in an effort to construct meaning from the same. Using Reciprocal Teaching strategies, students learn to mimic processes and procedures expert readers use. Most notable is the process becomes a habit of mind in as few as 20 consecutive days of practice. Learners engaging in Reciprocal Teaching use a group of four strategies when reading; these are predicting, summarizing, clarifying information that is not clearly understood, and questioning the text and what the text reveals.
By description, Reciprocal Teaching is a reading improvement strategy that mimics the processes that expert readers employ when they are engaged in reading or learning. As such, Reciprocal Teaching is a holistic reading (and learning) improvement strategy that is ideal for strengthening meta-cognitive skills and helping students learn how to read better. Students use four strategies as they read text and discuss the same in a focused effort to construct meaning.
Students engage in RT dialogues which are sessions of about 30 minutes where they
(1) raise questions about the text (and seek to answer these as self -checks on comprehension),
(2) clarify ambiguous vocabulary and elements of the text that are confusing to the students (using strategies taught to them explicitly),
(3) summarize main points as these emerge in the text (and thereby check for their emerging understanding), and
(4) predict what should logically come next in the text (or imagine based on the constructed meaning). These strategies inform them when they have wandered off, missed the point, are confused, cannot predict what is coming up, or are not following the gist of that to be learned. In short, the goal is to help them become more strategic as readers and learners as well.
4 Metacognitive Strategies That Improve Reading & Learning Capacity
How does Reciprocal Teaching promote reading and learning comprehension? In Reciprocal Teaching dialogues, students are taught to use four strategies to construct meaning from text that they are reading at the same time that they are developing skill in strategic reading which requires readers to employ two ongoing mental activities consistently as they read: (a) they read and understand the content at the same time during the reading process; and (b) they remain alert for instances when they are not achieving full comprehension and take appropriate steps to remediate the situation.
Reciprocal Teaching involves the use of four strategies: summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting. How each contributes to students’ ability to construct meaning from text is described below.
How Summarizing Improves Comprehension: Summarizing text provides the opportunity for readers to identify, paraphrase, and integrate important information in the text. It requires the reader to recall and state the gist he (or she) has constructed. Therefore, a reader who can summarize has activated background knowledge to integrate information appearing in the text, allocated attention to the main points, and evaluated the gist for consistency. The inability of the reader to summarize text indicates that comprehension is incomplete.
How Generating Questions Improves Comprehension: When readers generate questions, they first identify the kind of information that is significant enough that it could provide the substance for a question. Then they pose this information in a question form and self-test to ascertain that they can answer their own question. Generating questions about text, likewise, depends on the gist and the function needed for summarizing, but with one additional demand: that the reader monitor the gist to pick out the important points. To generate questions, the reader is required to re-process the information read into question format. The inability to formulate appropriate questions about text is another indicator that comprehension has not occurred.
How Clarifying Improves Comprehension: When readers clarify the text, their attention is called to the many reasons why text is difficult to understand due to new vocabulary, unclear references, and unfamiliar or difficult concepts. When a reader clarifies a point, he (or she) must allocate attention to the difficult points and engage in critical evaluation of the gist. In short, clarifying directs the reader to look for parts of the passage which are confusing and unclear. The reader must ask the question: “Is there anything in this segment that I don’t understand?” If there are unclear segments which block understanding, the reader is signaled to re-read, read ahead, or ask for help.
How Predicting Improves Comprehension: Predicting requires the reader to hypothesize about what the author might discuss next in the text. This provides a purpose for reading: to confirm or disapprove the hypothesis. Additionally, with predicting, an opportunity has been created for the reader to link the new knowledge they will encounter in the text to the knowledge they already possess. It also facilitates the use of text structure as students learn that headings, sub-headings, and questions imbedded in the text are useful means of anticipating what might occur next. To predict, the reader must read with anticipation and expectancy, watching for text clues indicating where the author is going next. The inability to predict may also be an indicator that comprehension is inadequate.
Reciprocal Teaching strategies used together helps students practice reading like experts read and as they strengthen their understanding and application of the strategies, their reading and learning competence improves.
Using these four strategies as a working group, readers learn to re-state prose in their own words (summarizing) and thus ensure they develop a type of reading self-review; they learn to ask main idea questions and by answering these demonstrate comprehension (questioning); they learn to use their own words as they re-state and evaluate a passage (clarifying); and they learn to make informed guesses about upcoming passages based on their attention to text clues (predicting).
Baseline consultants will teach Reciprocal Teaching strategies, reinforce these as participants’ practice and gain fluency using them in learning dialogues as a primary learning vehicle.
We Integrate Learning Tools as We Tutor Students: Self-Directed Study Skills
Another purpose of the program is to teach and reinforce foundational study skills, text features, and text structures and how these facilitate academic content learning. The aim is to encourage the use of multiple learning tools that fit the specific purpose for learning. These include notetaking, learning to adjust reading speeds to match the reading task, connecting the wholes to parts within informational text, and students mastering the main elements of the informational paragraph. When effectively integrated into academic content learning, study skills’ tools and cognitive strategies can extend learning in powerful ways.
2.Description of Foundational Tools
Baseline will rely on the following foundational learning tools or study skills to build a basic learning foundation that will provide learners with processes and skills useful for expanded learning. Based on the research emanating from reading in the content areas and reading to learn, the foundational tools ensure that students practice key learning tools that promote greater understanding in text. These include the following: the four Reciprocal Teaching strategies (summarizing, predicting, clarifying, and questioning), an understanding of the common structure and features of informational text, surveying or previewing text, skimming text, scanning text, notetaking, illustrating concepts, and mapping text. These literacy/learning tools provide learners with basic learning strategies needed for self-directed learning, metacognitive development, and construction of meaning.
Basic Literacy Skills for Content Learning & Metacognitive Development
We use the following skills and strategies to improve students’ ability to read, write, & learn better.
– How to use the 4 Reciprocal Teaching strategies (questioning, summarizing, predicting, and clarifying) to construct meaning from informational, narrative, and numeric text.
– How to identify and write on demand the common elements of the informational paragraph and the basic sentence.
– How to use the Cornell System of Note Takin to ensure students have a consistent structure to use when taking notes from informational text.
– How to use a systematic structure to survey informational text to get an overview of the contents within to activate schema and set purpose for reading.
– How to use a systematic structure to skim informational text to get a paragraph-by-paragraph overview of informational text as a review strategy or as a preparation for a quiz or test.
– How to use a systematic structure to scan informational text in search for answers
– How to create graphic depictions to connect main ideals with supporting ideas based on text patterns commonly used in informational text.
– How to use brainstorming to activate prior knowledge about a subject.
– How to write informational paragraphs that include topic sentences that include the writer’s tone as well as audience, purpose, unity, and coherence.
– How to write sentences that have clarity, correctness, and style
– How to avoid making high frequency major errors when writing
50 Sessions to Improve Students’ Learning & Reading Competence
Objectives: The learner will
Ø Learn and demonstrate understanding of the structure and common features of informational text at the paragraph level and write on demand an informational paragraph that includes all the main elements of the informational paragraph
Ø Identify Five Common Informational Text Patterns and use these to construct meaning from text
Ø Learn and demonstrate understanding of the structure and common elements of the sentence by writing sentences on demand
Ø Learn, practice, and demonstrate how to construct meaning from informational text via Reciprocal Teaching dialogues and initiate and sustain a learning dialogue at the basic, proficient, or advanced level
Ø Learn, practice, and demonstrate competence in using self-directed study skills: