Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Activities for readers

Kylene Beers speaks of creating an equal number of questions about each of the following:

Questions to Encourage Reflection About the Plot
• Questions to Encourage Reflection on the Characters
• Questions to Encourage Reflection About the Setting
• Questions to Encourage Reflection About the Theme
• Questions to Encourage Reflection on the

  • Point of View
  • Author's Style
  • Author
Stephanie Harvey's work concludes that we need to:

1. Choose the Text for Questioning.
2. Introduce the Strategy.
3. Model Thinking Aloud
4. Mark the Text with Stick-on Note
5. Allow Time for Guided Practice.

From Strategies That Work, Stephanie Harvey, Stenhouse, 2000

Harvey explains the forms that journals can take. Her emphasis is often on double or triple column journals.
Harvey has posted a two-page handout: Stephanie's Textlifting handouts from the workshop.
She also provides an excellent tutorial in the 7 comprehension strategies which include:
  • Making Connections
  • Questioning
  • Inferring
  • Determining importance
  • Visualizing
  • Synthesizing
  • Monitoring for Meaning.

From Conversations, Regi Routman, Heinemann, 2000

a. Describe similarities and differences between you and a character.
b. Show how event(s) or character(s) remind you of your own life.
c. Write as if you were a character in the book.
d. Make a prediction about what will happen (and then alter or confirm it).
e. Raise questions about what's unclear or puzzling.
f. Summarize key points in the story.
g. Record the key point of the story.
There is an entire page with more of these ideas.


I encourage students to create an AHA response!
They divide their paper in half. On one side they can record facts and important information from the text. On the right half their AHAs.
An AHA can be

  • something new I learned
  • a connection I made with my own life
  • something that startled me
  • an idea I may want to research
  • a place I heard this same idea
  • this makes sense because...
  • this answers a question I thought about....

Fluent Readers:

Several teacher-researchers suggest that a mini-lesson, followed by 20 -25 minutes of independent reading time, and ending with a 10 minute sharing period works best with more expereinced readers.
Examples of mini-lesson topics:
  • Strategies good readers use.
  • How to read books (how to hold, open, turn pages, how to treat books, read illustrations).
  • Choosing books.
  • Using soft voices to read aloud.
  • Pointing to the words while reading.
  • Noticing interesting words.
  • Noticing the dedication.
  • What the author does to make the reader laugh or feel sad.
  • How illustrations help the reader.
  • Why the author wrote the book.
  • How characters change.
  • How characters are described.
  • Comparing characters.
  • Finding point of view.
  • Defining the features of a particular genre.
  • How the setting affects the story.
  • What makes a good beginning to a story.
  • What makes a good ending to a story.
  • How to find the mood of a story.
From the MCPS Literacy Guide.

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