Students gain a lot out of talking to one another about what they are learning or understand. That is part of the reason we use "turn and talks" so often in our lessons. But not all students express themselves very well through speaking. This lesson provides students an opportunity to also express their thinking through writing. It still utilizes the benefits of communicating with a peer but in this way, it incorporates writing and reading as well as communicating and comprehension. Finally, it gives students who are better at communicating via writing a chance to show off and gives me something I can keep and use as an assessment of their understanding.
Students have heard me think aloud as I read a text to the class. Although, I want to model to students how they are going to do the task independently, if you think aloud often, you may not need to spend as much time modeling this process.
After reviewing the many effective strategies to respond to a text, I read the class book out loud. I pause to think out loud and explain my thinking. There is not a specific script to use in a specific text. I identify the strategies that I reviewed at the beginning of the lesson so students can make a clear connection to what each of the strategies are.
After I've read for the allotted time or amount (one or two chapters) I ask students to beginning writing their response to the text using complete sentences and their best guess spelling.
Some students complete their response letters quickly while other take more time. Those that finish early can read in their independent book.
When students are finished, I ask them to give their letters to their partners and return to their table groups. In their table groups, they share what their response was to the text and I circulate to hear the conversations groups are having.