Making the Abstract Accessible: The Importance of Concrete Connections to Elementary Aged Student's Understanding of New Concepts
Basgall, Bonnie, L 1993-
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This paper is a case study about a second grade student that had high fluency, but low overall reading comprehension and looks to examine both where the comprehension breakdown was coming from and what could be done about it. I began with observation only, watching him as he worked independently and with others in order to gain an insight into his patterns and behaviors. I then began working with him in small groups, pairs, and one on one, in order to learn more about his comprehension and thought processes. As I developed a clearer picture of the student I began researching developmental abilities at specific grade levels and stages of cognitive development. I found that students at his age cannot yet independently understand abstract concepts and inferences. This has implications for teachers today as current curriculum relies more on nonfiction concepts that are new to the students. I addressed these concerns by providing context to the students through concrete connections to their personal lives and explicit examples of the concept. This helps the student connect to the abstract concept and make it meaningful, which in turn can improve comprehension.