Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall.. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.
Engage the students
My kids LOVE using the iPads, but I take time early in the year to work with the class on a poster of "iPad Rules" to set up expectations (see Materials section).
Review the ideas
My goal with this activity is not to teach the vocabulary, but to expose the kids to it and see what they know. I am focusing on the words 'literature', 'informational text', and 'text features' so those I featured on my whiteboard at the beginning of the lesson, but the others are for exposure. I want the kids to understand the idea that books differ in many ways and we need to be thoughtful about what we are looking for. Many times my students just grab a book off the shelf from the library and don't even look inside. I would like to see them make a more thoughtful choice and be more introspective about what books that they like and why.
As we examine the parts/structures of a book and how they relate to each other and the whole, (RL.2.5), it helps students make a good book choice. Exposing them to informational text also allows them to see some vocabulary (glossary, index) which they will use later (RI.2.5). Pay attention to what the kids can comment on (understand well) and what they don't have comments on - these are areas to reinforce.
Model the activity (use some of the more unfamiliar vocabulary-genre, theme, informational text, section)
Guided practice (use some of the more unfamiliar vocabulary-genre, theme, informational text, section)
Explain the task**
Monitor student work
** The third time that I taught this lesson, I discussed the vocabulary with the kids. I realized they would not be independent finding the features themselves, so I changed up how we looked for them.
Each student chose 2 books and then I went through each feature - one by one. The kids circled or crossed off the feature on their worksheet if their books had them. Some kids shared if their book had that feature or not. It was a great chance for them to discuss why they chose their books and why they read.
Review the ideas
Scaffolding and Special Education
It is feasible to use this with any level of students because you can use of the variety of reading materials. With my students who have language challenges or read better, I provided lots of materials, including below level, at level and above level.
A "teachable moment" occurred when one of my students brought a book to me that was too difficult. We talked about the pictures (that he liked) but looked at the amount of paragraphs, number of chapters and he read 1-2 sentences. We decided together that he should continue to "hunt" for a good book that he could read.
For gifted students or those with a higher reading level, that discussion could be reversed. Is it ok to pick an easier book? You could discuss the book's purpose - maybe an easy book would be great for fun reading but a harder book at the student's level would be better for instruction. Also, some genres are more difficult just because of their format (poetry, persuasive).