In my quest to teach students to be active readers and to improve comprehension, we are moving into using clarifying to understand what we are reading. I began this lesson by giving students a sticky note as they walked in. I designated a space on the board that asked the question, " What do you do when you don't understand something when you are reading?" Students were asked to come in, go to their seat and answer the question on their sticky note. Students then "parked" their response on the board or "parking lot".
After everyone responded, we talked about students thoughts and then I told students that today we would learn how to clarify when we don't understand. Next, I wanted to actually show the class what clarification looked like while reading. I didn't want to just rely on modeling, so I searched the web for videos that other teachers may have posted showing the strategy.
We watched the video and then analyzed it. We talked about what we saw and what goes through your mind while using this strategy. "How can we use this strategy when we don't understand the actual text?" I asked students to take out their reader's notebook and jot down three things they could do if they don't understand what they are reading.
After students came up with their ideas, we worked together to come up with the following strategies:
Using a small section of our anchor text for the week, I modeled briefly using the clarification strategy. Even though students watched the video, I felt like modeling would reinforce the strategy and show how to apply it with a more complex text than what students had seen on the video.
I began to read. Before I taught the lesson, I mentally noted areas that I could use with my modeling. As I read, I would think aloud about the section that wasn't clear to me. Then I re-read that section and talked through the meaning of the highlighted text in my own words. I modeled two sections of the text before I released students to practice on their own.
As students begin to work with their partner to read the anchor text, I have them watch another short learning video from You Tube about clarifying just to give them a reference of what they should be doing while they are reading. Taking advantage of the computer at each of my work stations, students are able to refer to the link during the exercise. I also placed a mini chart at students' table to give them another reference to pay attention to as they are practicing the strategy.
Students are given a set of instructions that has them stop at various points in the article to monitor their thinking and clarify anything they may not understand. As students are reading, they are asked to stop periodically and talk with their partners about what they've read. Students are also asked to record what they did to clarify any part of the text they did not understand. I also leave the anchor chart up for students and encourage them to record in their reader's notebook.
After students read the text and practice using the clarification strategy, to assess students success with the strategy, I had them respond to the text on their own. I created a few text dependent response questions that would allow me to determine if students understood what they read and if they were able to understand how to use the strategy. As students worked independently, I worked with small groups of students to reinforce their time with the strategy or to extend the strategy further depending on the learning needs of the groups I worked with. This response served as the ticket out the door. After students completed their responses, we came back together as a whole group.
After students completed their responses to the article, we came back together as a class to sum up using the strategy. I asked several students to talk about their experience with the strategy and to talk about any section they had to clarify and how they used the strategy to clarify. We referred back to the anchor chart to reinforce the strategy.