This Guiding Question is a response to parent feedback I received. I had a parent of a student who said her son was unable to access the content because he had so little background knowledge. I was doubtful, but tried to see what connections he was able to make as he read, anyway.
And, in case you were wondering, the aforementioned student was completely capable of making text-to-text, and text-to-world connections. His text-to-self connections were a little sparse, but how much living and how many experiences do 11 year-olds really have?
I spent a lot of time at the beginning of the year building up a culture of readers. I used Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer and gave my students a goal to read 40 books this year. Here we are, more than halfway to the end of the year and I found that I wasn't holding up my end of the bargain. I was so busy with the difficult unit and concepts at hand that I wasn't encouraging that independence. But, my kids were pulling their weight. Here they are during a "lockdown" drill.
For today's lesson, I gave them some time to read. But, I also wanted to check for comprehension, so I had them note any connections they had as they read.