My students are getting better at knowing when to stop and reflect when reading. Some students zip through chapters because they are so excited to find out what happens but their understanding is not very deep of the subplots or hidden problems in the book- other students read too slowly or have low stamina- so they don't ingest enough words per minute to determine importance. In the next unit, I will focus on summarizing events across their fingers or in their head- while they are envisioning the important events and ideas. All the while they are determining what is important...asking, "Is this something I need to write down on a post-it? Is this a main idea? How do I know?" Some students need additional practice at this important skill. Students are still working on stamina and focus, as well- which goes hand in hand with being able to determine what is important in a chapter.
Please take a look at page one in chapter one of Hound Dog True. The first paragraph requires the reader to trust the author and keep reading to make sense of the text. It helps if the reader has a little background knowledge about warning labels and how they are written in multiple languages. It is important for the reader to orientate him/herself in the text. The reader will need to figure out what is going on in this first scene. Since I am reading this book aloud to the students. I can help them navigate this scene. I prepared the pictures in the slide show of the ladder with the warning labels. I want students to understand the reading should make sense and that you have to envision and trust what the author is saying and go with it!
It is summer. I am revising lessons for this project. I am also enjoying beach time and summer reading. The skill of envisioning is so powerful to the enjoyment of reading. Randy Bomer states, "The text is describing a picture to you as a reader. If you don't see the picture, you're not understanding the text. A fluent reader see the text in his mind's eye. Envisioning goes beyond "making a movie in your mind" and encompasses the pictures of ideas and abstract concepts." I am reading Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. This is her first book. It is such a joy for me to read because I followed what I teach my students about picking a good fit book- purpose for reading, interested in subject and time period, comprehension, know most of the words. I used The I PICK strategy. To illustrate what Randy Bomer is explaining, I am including a powerful scene from the book that brought me to tears as I read. I was moved to read an except from Burial Rites to my friend at the beach because the words evoked such strong images, feelings and ideas. Fiction reading at its best.
I find being a reading teacher so rewarding because I know I am supporting students attain a gift that will last a lifetime. The gift of reading.
"Readers I am going to read to you and then demonstrate how I capture my thinking on a post-it note about what I am picturing. Then you will get to do the same thing in your book when you are back at your desk.
Today you will hear chapter one of Hound Dog True. I want you to remember the way you make the words mean something to you is to turn them into pictures in your mind as you hear them. The authors words are written to make you picture what is happening. Sometimes an author writes about little details that are obscure- or not easily pictured- because you have never really noticed what he or she is writing about. That is one the great thing about reading- you will think about and picture things you might otherwise not otherwise notice. This is how reading builds your background knowledge of things in the world. Today in chapter one, Mattie, our main character is at her new school that her Uncle Potluck is the janitor. Another name for a janitor is a custodian. We have two custodians at our school Mr. Eric and Mr. John. Raise your hand if you have seen them taking care of our school.
So today the chapter starts out with Mattie holding the bottom of the ladder as Uncle Potluck removes a burned out light bulb and replaces it with a new one. As Mattie is holding the ladder she looks at the warning stickers on the ladder that caution the user to be careful. I am going to show you some pictures like I did yesterday to help you picture what Mattie is looking at. I am also going to show you some other pictures to help develop your schema around things in a school that a custodian takes care of. Are you ready?"
Show slides and describe them to develop students' background knowledge and vocabulary.
"Now as I read I want you to be picturing what the words mean. We call picturing scenes while reading envisioning."
Read chapter one.
"Now that I've read this chapter and have been picturing what happened I want to capture my thinking on my post-it notes. Watch me as I write two post-its.
While students are reading independently I will pull a strategy group and listen to students read a snippet and ask them to tell me what is going on in their books. I will stop them and have them write post-its of what they are envisioning.
After this I will circulate in the room. I will confer with readers as they write post-its of their envisioning, and check to see that students are in good fit books. I will make book suggestions if students are not enjoying their book because it is too easy, too hard, or not interesting to them.
About five to ten minutes before the close of the independent reading portion of the workshop I will remind students that during the partner share they will share two of their "'I'm picturing..." post-its with their partner. At this time I will show another one of my post-it of envisioning as an example of what to do.
Ask students to finish their post-its and then pick one of their best ones and be ready to share with their partner.