I start class by asking the students to make a preliminary attempt to complete the character analysis activity in their Novel booklet. I have them do this activity in pencil as they will be revisiting the activity at the conclusion of the novel. In their analysis, they are looking at key features and aspects of each character as well as key events and moments involving each character. Finally, I ask the students to be sure they clearly determine and define the relationship between each of the characters.
Students will have the remainder of the class period to complete the second section of the novel, The Sieve and the Sand. As they finish the reading, they are then expected to complete the questions for this section in their novel study booklet. As always, when the students are reading, I join various tables and read along.
As the students have progressed through their reading assignments, I have continued to subtly push them regarding their thinking as they read. In the beginning, I would simply ask the kids where they are in the reading when I sat with them. Gradually, I started asking them rhetorical questions or giving them ideas to consider as they read. In this process, I have become increasingly capable of meeting the students where they are at the time and pushing them in the direction of the next level. It is a great way to subtly differentiate for them, and is easy to do. As they continue to increase the extent to which they question the text when reading, I have seen their participation in and quality of discussions and activities increase as well. Some of the students have even expressed a greater enjoyment of reading because they feel they are understanding more and getting more out of it.