Before we begin a new chapter I always like to review what we know or have learned so far. The first chapter I really tried to get my students to understand the characters. We focused on all of the characters, but I want to review Annemarie and Ellen.
I start by asking students to share what they know about these two characters. The class begins describing them to me. I want them to move past the descriptions and ask probing questions on what they notice about the two girls descriptions. I asked them to compare and contrast them in their heads. Students then began to try to infer information about the characters. I have students infer that Annemarie is brave and Ellen is more fearful. I keep this line of thinking going and help them come to the conclusion that the author has made the two girls opposites.
This is a great way to review the events of chapter one. The class confirms the girls are opposite by how they react and act within the reading.
With our review kickstarting our thinking, we are ready to read. When we open up to the chapter I ask them to read the chapter's title. I then ask them to infer and predict what the title might be about. I have two very different answers. One student sees the word past and thinks we are going to go back in time within the book. The other, thinks of someone going past your house over and over and you start to wonder why they keep going by. I make sure to compliment them both for using what they know and using it to create a better prediction.
To read the chapter I chose to read in a popcorn or class read. We are short on time because of our discussion, but I want to get through the chapter. When I read with my class this way, I also take the opportunity to model good reading for them. This requires me taking a turn. I do not cold call on students, but ask who would like to read and write their names on the white board. This gives me a reference point to call on the next reader.
I start the reading and then ask them what they notices about my reading. They are good at explaining this to me because I ask it often. They notice that I read loud enough for everyone to hear, I read carefully and reread, and slow dow to add expression to my reading.
To help us with our understanding of the chapter I find it essential to stop and ask questions often. I allow a student to read and then stop them when they complete the paragraph to ask a question. I wait to the end of the paragraph to not disrupt their fluency.
If you do not know the book you are reading I would suggest reading and pre-formulating questions to focus on. I know that in this part of the book we are going to learn more about Annemarie. We will find out about more personal information relating to her and her family. We will also be given the setting.
My questions then focus on these two main ideas. I use my questions to focus them and get them thinking on details that relate to them. With Annemarie I make sure they understand, through questioning, that the author needs us to know this information. I also ask question that focus on the setting. We learn about aspects of the war. I lead a discussion on what that might be like to have soldiers on every corner and not be free. We also talk about being able to see free land across the sea and the feelings that come with that.