Previously in our During reading strategy book mark lesson we briefly talked about setting a speed for reading. To open the lesson, I want students to try to think back to when we talked about setting a speed. Some students will remember just because of the brief lesson we did or when I bring up the gears for reading speeds.
This is a quick discussion to see what students remember, if anything.
There are four gears to reading and I like to begin by talking about a car (students love when I use Bugatti as the example). Every car or truck has different gears to make them handle different tasks. Reading is a lot like the gears on a car. We need to decide what gear is the best for the text we are reading and for the reason we are reading that text.
First Gear: First gear for a tuck is it's puling gear. I ask students to tell me about anytime they have seen a truck pull a heavy load. When they pull, especially uphill, they go much slower than other cars. These trucks are working hard to haul their load. First gear is like that in reading. It is slow and it is for when we are working the hardest on learning the information in the book. We use this gear to for when we need to read carefully for facts and important information. The kind of information we read about to write a research paper.
Second Gear: This gear is like a medium speed for a car. You might be able to get around neighborhoods in this gear. You are not going to use this gear on the highway it's too slow. I call it the cruising gear. If I owned a Bugatti, I would want to cruise is slowly around for my friends to see it. I still drive carefully and slowly, but my car is not working as hard. Reading in second gear is a little faster but still slow enough to cruise through a text and learn lots of information. I Would read in gear two when I read a book for fun, or when I am rereading. I want to understand what I read, make connections, and infer so I can't read too fast.
Third Gear: When a car is in third gear we are now starting to speed up. We are trying to get somewhere. I use it our main street in town as the example, the speed on it is 40. We go down Route 66 to get to the next destination because it's faster than driving through neighborhoods. Reading in gear three is also faster. This gear is for finding evidence, and facts. This gear is also called skimming. We are looking over what I already read quickly but carefully. Looking for answers or information.
Fourth Gear: Fourth gear is for the interstate. We use it to get somewhere fast. I tell them that the interstate connects Flagstaff and Phoenix. We drive on it so we can get to Phoenix faster. I tell them that the speed limit on the interstate is 75. It is much faster than Route 66. Fourth gear in reading is looking for something very quickly. I might use it to find a bold word or chart on a page I have already read. I can also use it to find a word in the index, glossary, or in a dictionary.
The fun part comes now! They are going to practice the different reading speeds using their history book. As a group we go through each of the gears practicing together in our book.
We start with gear one and I ask them to show me how to read slow and carefully. We then practice with gear two and now we are going to reread what we just read. We don't have to read it as fast because we have already read it. We only go to gear two if we understood what we read the first time.
Next, we try out third gear. This is when I ask students to find a specific answer to a question within the text. I choose an question based on a section we have already covered and read in class. Students have to find a sentence to read to prove their answer to me. Finally, we practice fourth gear. In fourth gear I ask them to find a bold word either within the text or in the glossary. I want them to find them as quickly as possible.
Once history books are all out, I ask them to tell me what gear they would use for a certain situations. Like most of my lessons, I like role playing and acting out.
Situation One: I need to know the definition of the word history? (gear four)
Situation Two: The author write about an autobiography being a primary source, where would I find evidence that was true? (gear one)
Situation Three: Give me examples of primary and secondary sources that are listed in the book? (gear three)
Situation Four: Find something that you found interesting after reading the section? (gear two)
After this practice time, I ask them why each gear might be important to certain texts? This student input time is valuable because they take charge of assigning importance to the rate of speed that matches the purpose of their reading.
Students can sometimes need a small group setting to practice the strategy successful. I chose six students that I have observed need some more practice. They are ready to take on the challenge of reading more difficult text. However, these students still need considerable support and time to practice reading strategies. I do the above lesson very similar to how I taught it the first time.
Instead of using one book I bring four different books to model the strategy. I show the group the books and I open them to show the text. I then introduce the gears of reading again and talk setting a speed to read each book. As a group, we talk about the text complexity.
I then hand out four small sticky notes to each student. I ask them to number each sticky, 1-4. I then ask them to try and label the four books with gear they think we should read them at. Once the stickies are placed, we go back through each book and I help them discover what speed they should read the different books at. I then allow them to move their stickies to reflect what they just learned. To close I have students explain in their own words the different speeds.