Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reading Is Thinking

During this unit of reader's workshop we have been working to develop good habits in our students. A big focus in our instruction has been to help the kids really learn to think about what they are reading. Many of our kids simply plow through a book without much thinking and then move on to the next one. They aren't plugged in to what the author or the text is truly telling them. The goal for me as a third grade teacher is to help kids to slow down and think about what the words on the page are saying.

As a teacher my goal is to make this process as concrete as I can. As adults and advanced readers we do many of the things good readers do without thinking about it. But young readers need guidance in learning to think about their reading just like kids need training wheels to learn how to ride a bike. We have done a lot of read aloud, think aloud activities and guided entries in our reader's notebooks. The kids have been surprised at how much they have to say about a book when they slow down and really engage, focus and think on the text.

I have mini anchor charts with thinking stems posted in my room. These are great starters for conversations about books. The most important thing for me though is to support your thinking with evidence from the text. It all has to come back to the text.

  • Visualizing
    • What image do you see in your mind?
    • Can you picture yourself as a character in a movie based on the book?
    • What other sensory details (hearing, smelling, touching, feeling) can you associate with the text?
  • Questioning
    • What do you wonder?
    • Why do you think the author made the choices they did?
    • What do you understand? What do you not understand?
    • What if...?
  • Inferring
    • What do you think? 
    • What is your evidence that makes you think so?
  • Predicting
    • What do you think might happen? Why?
  • Making Connections
    • What does this text remind you of?
    • How does your connection help you understand the text?
    • Is your connection meaningful?

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