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Pronouns and Reading

August 24, 2017

I haven’t read up on this, so maybe I am way behind the curve on pronouns and reading. I find my students experience difficulties in tracking pronouns to their referents or antecedents in reading.  One of the first activities I do at the beginning of the semester is to take some paragraphs from our first reading and ask students to identify the referent for the pronouns.  In the following screen shot is the first paragraph of the reading taken from Focus 4: Reading and Vocabulary.


About half the class found the exercise difficult either taking a great deal of time with it or identifying the wrong referent.  It could be that referents for it are more difficult to track than gendered personal pronouns.  However, the difficulties indicate possible areas affecting reading comprehension that need attention.

This type of activity can be easily replicated with almost any text where the writer uses pronouns in the text.  It forces students to slow down and process the text and gives the teacher an idea of where text misinterpretation can occur.  This type of activity along with circling the referent and drawing lines from the pronoun to the referent can help students understand how the text is put together.  In addition, it can help teachers assess which student find this difficult and need more work with identifying the referent for the pronoun.

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