Sometimes there are stories or articles that we look forward to reading. Perhaps a favorite author has just published a new book in a series or you cannot wait to read the analysis of your favorite team's most recent game. In those cases, there are certain things we do without even thinking about them that allow us to get information from what we read. What do you think some of those things might be? Oftentimes, students respond with comments like: "I tune out the world around me." "I go back and reread sections that describe people or what happened if I get mixed up." "Marking up the text or using sticky notes for questions, hard words and main ideas helps me." "I make guesses about what will happen next."
To get students thinking more explicitly about both the importance of comprehension strategies and some examples, I have them complete an entrance ticket. Here's one way to introduce it: Those are great ideas but what if you are reading something because you have to and not because you want to? Then it is not always easy to stay engaged with the text. It takes conscious effort. My reflection video describes how students share responses.
If the importance of making predictions does not come up in the discussion then do so by reminding students of the previous day's activities introducing the novel. Applying that skill throughout the reading will increase comprehension.
To get started with the novel, we read chapter one as a whole class read aloud. This way I can demonstrate application of the monitoring comprehension strategies identified during the activator. During the reading I stop along the way to make predictions, jot down questions, note each character that is introduced and make connections. These connections can be text-to-text, text-to-self, or text-to-world. Additionally, I ask students if they notice something that this author does well that helps us understand life during a time so different than our own and draw their attention to the sensory details and descriptive language that make this selection such a good match to the Book Bits activity. It is important that right from the start students provide specific quotes from the text during the conversation.
Students then work in the same small reading groups as the day before to complete the following tasks related to chapter one. They discuss any questions that they have from the reading.
And they choose one of the following activities to work on: 1) Reread chapter 1 and complete Pause and Reflect Worksheet. To support students that may have trouble dividing the text appropriately into sections, I add page numbers to each part of the grid; 2) Reread chapter 1 and on illustration worksheet create a sketch for each of the major events (at least 4) in the first chapter. Each sketch must demonstrate attention to appropriate descriptive details provided by the author and needs to include quotes from the text as captions.
As students work, I circulate among groups to answer questions, monitor task completion and take anecdotal notes.
Here is a way I extend this lesson for fast finishers.
To end today’s class, each small group makes a presentation to the whole class or to other small groups of what they thought were the main ideas in chapter one using a completed worksheet. This gives you the opportunity to note similarities and differences among the groups and to clarify any misconceptions. For homework, students write a short summary of the chapter.