Socratic or Shared Inquiry: A misunderstood Puzzle

Just a moment ago I saw a TV  advertisement encouraging teachers to allow more student talking, and it reminded me of an experience this past spring in my 8th grade class. I don’t remember the company who was being advertised, but that’s not important.

My 8th graders were in a Tier 2 class because they read 1-2 grades below grade level.  They needed support, and I designed this class a few years ago to help the “whole child” as ASCD (Association for School Curriculum Development) encourages.  This is not just a reading class — it is much more and helps the kids become “students and grow as individuals”.  Working with each one of them individually, they learn how to help themselves support their learning as a whole — at home and at school.

On the day I am remembering, we had just read a nonfiction article from Scholastic’s SCOPE Magazine;  I don’t remember the article title. After reading, I told them I would not be asking questions —  they would have to ask each other although they had no advance notice.  Suddenly 16 earful eyes stared at me.  After a few moments, one boy asked if they could brainstorm some questions in advance.  The joy burst from my heart, and I gave them my signature triple pat on my heart along with my words, “It’s a proud moment!”

Looking at me for guidance — but with very little response — the kids came up with 3 questions they thought everyone should answer.  It was not a clear shot of creating the questions. They struggled multiple times. They wanted my validation, but I moved my seat back and kept reminding them, “What do you think?”

Eventually, the most verbal students agreed on three questions everyone should answer.  Although 5 out of the 3 students tried to get buy-in, the others were pretty much non-committal.  I recognized that I had taught them well  — that all members counted in our class — not just a few.  Another gratifying moment!

Now that the questions were established on the easel for all to see, I asked the students to re-read the article with the questions in mind.  After checking that all had finished their re-read, I encouraged them to go ahead.  Again, those 16 eyes stared at me.

“Take a chance.  Think back to what I said.  You created the questions.  Go for it.”  They could see I was not taking notes because that would have created undue pressure.

“Ok…ay…,” Edgar said. (My student’s names have been changed for obvious privacy issues.)  “Who is going to start?”  There was no response.  “Let’s go with questions number 2,” Edgar continued and  read the question.

Dan answered with an amazingly deep response that I had not heard from him in months!  Although he was not pointing to the text, his paraphrasing was excellent.

Soon Jane joined — she is usually off task and reading some other page on her computer rather that the assignment. But not today!  She was referencing the article with specific  pages and paragraphs.

Can you imagine the pounding of my heart? The puzzle was coming together! This was a SOCRATIC SEMINAR BECAUSE BECAUSE I WAS NOT INVOLVED. Hence, the misunderstood puzzle of student discourse.

Eventually 5 out of the 8 students discussed a 3 page SCOPE article for more than 30 minutes and wanted to stay after class to continue. Rarely was their repetition and when it occurred, one of the students called their peers back on task. That is a rarity on all counts.

The only thing I reminded was that not everyone was participating.  And as another proud flash occurred, Edgar, my self-appointed student leader asked each student what they thought.  Obviously he was paying attention not only to the questions as they went through them but also to the participants.

The puzzle of Socratic vs Shared Inquiry is when the teacher is involved, it is Shared Inquiry.  Socratic is student-led not teacher-driven nor teacher-participating.

It doesn’t have to be a puzzle:  Just a puzzle of terminology.

And then:  GIVE THE KIDS A CHANCE — THEY CAN PUT THE PIECES TOGETHER.

Another Piece of the Puzzle: The Power of the Daily Teacher

Pardon me while I use an often frowned upon transition: Using a question to begin a response.  Have you ever felt like your world was overwhelming and weighed much more than your job? Yes, me too!

I remember when I worked in the business world I would become annoyed as co-workers spouted on and on about their personal lives as if nothing else mattered.  I do tend to be the self-described task-master.  There was work to be done, but there were employees who were beaten down with their home-life demands, not enough work to be a distraction, or those who were more consumed with themselves than their job. Don’t get me wrong — I can fall into the first two categories.  My parents, sister, and brother-in-law never allowed the latter to occur: Work ethic was an ownership I was expected to have, and it began at age 11 1/2.  But, I digress.

As educators, we need to remember that our paramount focus everyday is not our personal lives!  It is our students.  People look at me like I am crazy when I say I have almost 600 students.  And as a high school department chair I do have almost 600 students.  In our discussions, my department chair colleagues agree with me  that we take on that responsibility in our jobs.  I have to forget myself and focus on these kids.  Each of them is a puzzle.

The summer before I became department chair, I met a social studies teacher in our high school.   He gave me the best puzzle piece possible:  As you walk down the hall, greet every student whether you know them or not.  The teacher — who at our loss moved to another district — told the story of a student whom he had not taught but spoke to daily.  The boy came to Mr. W. as a senior and said Mr. W. had saved the kid. This teacher had made it worth coming to school every day because the young man looked forward even in rough times of being acknowledged by Mr. W.

Talk about the power of a teachers words!  Leave our personal world at the door or at best tell our students of the personal sticky-point (if appropriate) and then move on.

How do I help a student, and when do I leave them alone? Greet them — absolutely!  Get to know the students in my classes — without a doubt!  Which puzzle piece do I choose that day for each student? These are the questions we must ask — and more importantly not forget to ask ourselves.

As I sat 2 seats away from the graduation entrance ramp 2 weeks ago and my former students walked up, it was difficult not to cry.  I witnessed my former 7th graders emerge from pre-teens through high school and now leaving us.  It was my lucky seat as they looked at me and gave a wave, I congratulated, their sincere smiles, my robust applause, and their elation.  Each day as their 7th grade teacher and as I followed their progress through high school, I had the power to send them on with a positive motivation or a negative impact through my words.

Every day is a puzzle for each of us as we speak with our students.

How we deal with that puzzle is crucial.

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The Reading Thinking Writing Process Puzzle

THINKING:  We just don’t put enough time into it in the classroom.  So several years ago I created a poster to remind my students to think while they are writing. It worked for a while, and then like so many strategies after a while it went by the wayside.  Recently after conferencing with students and listening to teachers, I decided the instrument needed to come out again.

We teachers have been taught the writing process, but how often do you put that puzzle in front of your students?  Many instructors remind students to draft, rewrite, edit, and revise.  But the pieces don’t come together that easily — true reading and writing are more of a puzzle.  Hence, The Reading Thinking Writing Process was created.

My thinking below is detailed and can be shortened for quicker pieces of writing or responding.  But as I wrote out tasks for my 6th grade “Problem Solving and Design” class two weeks before school ended, I pulled out the Reading Thinking Writing Process. They were having problems with planning through their problem-solving journals as well as their daily reflections. The great thing about the Reading Thinking Writing Process is that it works with all lengths and types of assignments.

My kids were frustrated at the length. I heard the same statements from my sixth and seventh and eighth graders: “Why do we have to go through all of the steps? Just let me write it!” We teachers know they can’t write well without going past a first draft. And when we conference, slowly students come around so they see it too.

The big idea here is that getting the students to THINK during the writing process helps them proceed so much further in their understanding; therefore the kids progress as learners. Because thinking really is such a big part of the puzzle!

YOU THINK about it: If the kids don’t THINK before they revise, have they really captured the information they’ve been given in the conference whether the feedback was from the teacher or their peer? Was that revision conference worthy of the time or worthwhile in anyway if the writer doesn’t spend time thinking about the information they were given?

The big causal factor I venture to say — they are the four cornerstones of the puzzle as well as the centerpiece — is BEING PATIENT TO TAKE TIME TO THINK.

When we teach students to be PATIENT, we have begun to teach them a life-skill that is needed for every job. We have also taught them an essential need for reading and writing and THINKING! Then the puzzle pieces fall into place more easily.

The Reading Thinking Writing Process

Wait Time … We Need to Use It More

How much time is spent in your classroom spent THINKING?

When we give students time to THINK, then they can process their ideas.  So often, teachers rush to move on.  Students can’t always move that fast!  Many brains need time whether it is to answer a question,  THINK about a text or to THINK about a math equation.  I hate that I cannot remember where I found the graphic below because it is great!  I believe tells us so much. If you know, please leave a comment so I can give them credit.

If we think about ourselves, how frequently do we wish that we had THOUGHT before we spoke?  We need to give that same courtesy and teach that ability to our students.

This past week, I was reviewing assessment-taking strategies with 6th graders.  During two- 35 minute sessions, four students raised their hands before I had even said the main idea of my question.  We have indirectly trained our kids to answer right away.  And THINK about this puzzling question:  We wonder why students don’t put the pieces together in our content!  The simple answer is they can’t because they haven’t had time to THINK.

We do have to remind our students to pause to use their brains.  Like I wrote above — these boys and girls — were eager to participate even though they didn’t know the specifics of what they were going to have to answer.  For many years when I was carrying a full-load of 5 classes a day and 120-135 students, there were two signs in big bold letters:  Reading is THINKING.  Writing is THINKING.  The signs weren’t there for show; I used them as a frequent message.

Before asking a question, I  remind my students not to raise their hands until I ask them to THINK about my question or statement.  When hands are up, students already have an idea in their minds; they are not THINKING.  When hands are up, they believe they know the answer to the puzzle we are asking. They can’t put the pieces together because they haven’t THOUGHT.

I have believed in THINKING for a long time because I was one of those learners who could not answer right away. I was intimidated by questions.  And because of my auditory processing, lots of times I hadn’t even heard or had misheard the question being asked.  Therefore, how could I answer the question right away? I needed time to THINK!  Usually I had to figure out the puzzle of what had been asked and then put the pieces together. I wasn’t a strong student and was told that many times.  The longer I took to answer the more impatient my teachers became. The instructors didn’t give me time to THINK which I needed.

Don’t be that restless teacher that is eager for an immediate answer so you can move on.  In the long run, the information stays with the student when they have the opportunity to THINK.

So the next time you are in front of the class, whether you working with a small group, or conferencing one-on-one — give the student time to THINK.  It will take practice and retraining those arms and hands that want to pop into the air.  But it is worth it.  You will be amazed that although you might not see immediate improvement, over time, you will see great results.

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NO MORE FAKE READING book review

First, let me say that this book review is unsolicited. I have had the honor to work with author Berit Gordon, and it has been an enlightening two years!

I am lucky enough that my school district partnered with Berit, and I am looking forward to another year of being able to work with her. In fact, my assistant superintendent has made it possible so that I’ve personally been able to work with her to learn how to coach teachers regarding independent reading as well as reading workshop.

Her book, NO MORE FAKE READING, should be on every English teacher’s, literacy coach’s, and administrator’s reading list.

Berit Gordon is authentic. Lots of experts have not been in the field for a long time, but Berit has been. For example, when she goes into our classrooms she is willing to not only work with our students, but she works with our teachers and with our students too. She is a teacher. She was never just a consultant — it hasn’t been long since she was in the classroom. Berit is a teacher’s teacher.

So Berit has that experience that is so important to all of us. She is not an ivory tower person who claims to be an expert but has been too long out of the real day-to-day experience that we all face with our students learning to read and write.

This is not just a middle school teacher book nor just a high school teacher book. It spans the spectrum. That’s what I use it for since I work with grades six through 12.

As teachers we all face of variety of puzzle pieces every day. Whether it is the puzzle of our students minds or the puzzle of how we put together today’s lessons or the puzzle of how to get our students to understand a text — the puzzle pieces need to come together for us. This book helps with many of those pieces.

Berit repeatedly explains that book choice is what is going to entice our students to want to read and grab their interest. We have to give our students that time in the classroom to read. It is that volume of reading both at school and at home that will increase their comprehension as well as their desire to read. Berit endorses choice reading by far. However, she does acknowledge that the classics have a place in the classroom and is very clear about that in her text.

One of the things that Berit reminds us is that at the beginning of the year, modeling reading with our students is important. And then after a few weeks — the teacher needs to stop reading while the students continue. Students get used to the model of the moment they walk in the door, they begin reading. Perhaps, the teacher chooses to finish the last 20 minutes of class with independent reading. The problem with that is, as Berit explains, the last 20 minutes may not be there after all of the lessons and tasks of the day.

However, students reading in the classroom is an expectation they get used to! I’ve seen this happen in sixth grade, ninth grade, and AP classes! It’s amazing once the expectation stands: The kids are reading whether it is a regular classroom or my Tier 2 classes — the students read — and ask to read when the schedule is out of the norm — because the expectation has been set.

As Berit explains in her book, while students are reading, the teacher has the opportunity to pull students aside to have short conferences and rich conversations about their reading. Asking students about their interests and getting to know students more deeply because we get to find out about what the kids like tells us a lot about the students we work with. This is one of the points she clarifies in her book. Besides, as Berit explains, it opens the door to what our students understand and where we need to work with them individually to improve their comprehension.

This is a very usable text. Teachers don’t have time to read endless pages, and we want something we’re going to be able to turn around and use tomorrow in our classrooms. That’s what this book does for us. Whether it is the book buzzes, the resources at the end of the book, or how to set up a classroom library, there are a variety of immediate ideas to use. It doesn’t need to be read chapter by chapter because there are so many good ideas. The ideas flow from chapter to chapter and at the same time the pieces can be picked up at any point.

I also like that she actually gives real examples where she has worked in classrooms and shows ideas that teachers have shared with her or where she has used things that have worked. So these are not supposed ideas she is throwing out. They are concepts that really do work with our preteens and teens in the English language arts class.

To get the full concept of all of her ideas, you need to read her book. It’s from Corwin Press. I can’t express enough what a fabulous impact Berit Gordon has had on my teaching and the revelations she has created in so many educators I work with. Don’t lose this opportunity!

Skills, Rigor & Interest for our Students…Another Part of the Puzzle

One of the puzzle pieces in the classroom is finding effective units to teach students so that they can learn a skill, and teachers can still provide rigor while engaging students.  I wrote this unit of study for close reading to be used in grade 7 or 8 a few years ago when I worked with LearnZillion.  One of the things I love about this unit is that it uses the short story named A JURY OF HER PEERS as well as the play version titled, TRIFLES.  The author, Susan Glaspell, created an interesting alignment between these two pieces of literature which in turn creates a good example for compare and contrast.

I read a few years ago that if a student can compare and contrast and then move into writing the same, they are able to adapt their writing skills elsewhere more efficiently. This seems to be true from my own experiences. Getting students to understand compare and contrast, however, can be somewhat difficult.  Using my unit of study with Susan Glaspell’s writing creates that reading and writing scenario.

Kelly Gallagher, a respected researcher and educator, has written extensively about “writing through the literature.”  This entails writing throughout the time of reading and not just waiting to write after students finish a text.  Often this lack of writing through literature is a puzzle piece that is missing in the comprehension for many students.  This is where compare and contrast comes in. It is not just an organizer looking at the two parts of comparison and contrast, it is looking at how the parts come to the whole in a piece of writing — even a short piece of writing — similar to how the pieces of a puzzle start to make the puzzle look like the entire picture. Comparing even a little bit at a time and then adding contrasting a little bit at a time all the while reading the literature is what is helpful for students.

So by using this unit, teachers can accomplish multiple skills and goals:  Close reading, compare and contrast, and writing through the literature.  Of course, most importantly what comes out of this unit is that students improve their reading comprehension as well as their writing.

These texts are not easy, and at first I was questioned as to whether or not 7th and 8th graders could access this fiction.  One of the shifts from the CCSS  — of which I am a Connecticut and National Core Advocate  — is the expectation of rigor and depth not breadth.  The A JURY OF HER PEERS and TRIFLES unit was written with the idea that this required teacher instruction and guidance in order that middle school students can deal with the advanced stories and depth of knowledge. Before publishing, LearnZillion requires all work to be vetted; in fact this formal unit is based on one that I used in a five-level differentiated classroom. You will see the scaffolding within the written materials.  And for clarification, LearnZillion vets all of their writers prior to accepting them as part of the LearnZillion team.

The last piece of the puzzle in any classroom is to keep the student’s interest. If a student is not interested, they are not engaged. Although the stories take place in the early 1900s, and some people would say present students cannot relate to that time period, but Glaspell’s characters are rich, and the plot is full of twists and turns.  My students really enjoyed the readings.

So I provide you with a piece of the puzzle for your classroom!

https://ctcorestandards.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/CTDT_Gr_6-8_A_Jury_of_Her_Peers.pdf

Formative Assessment — Why Don’t Teachers Use It More Often?

Slide courtesy of Great Schools Partnership

 

Before I moved out of the classroom to become a coach and RtI instructor, I had “data grades.” My students got used to the idea that these numbers in the grade book didn’t count toward their final grade for the trimester but were information for both of us — the student and me. Little did I know that actually I was recording formative assessment data! I just knew that this was helpful information that let me understand whether or not my students grasped concepts and who I needed to re-teach, who needed review, and which students could move on. Ahh — light bulb — another form of differentiation!**

To many educators, data has become a dirty word; I don’t happen to think so. I see the value of how it gives us information — good and bad — and how it also sometimes doesn’t add up. That’s where formative assessment comes in — another piece of data.

Not all formative assessments have to be recorded. A quick show of hands, listening to student’s conversation, reading student work, 3 minute teacher-student conferences, or an exit ticket don’t have to be formally graded. This idea of not grading everything is often a hard idea for teachers to get used to.

In the past, everything was graded! If we didn’t grade it, what use was it. Students still ask, and it drives my peers and me nuts, “Is this graded”? I frequently hear, “If I don’t grade it, they won’t do a good job.” I disagree. Once students get used to formative assessments, they help them too, then “our kids” will put forth equally strong effort whether the task has a mark in the grade book or not. Key here is sharing the formative assessment with them. When students know the purpose of their learning, why they are doing a task, and how it leads to the end, we teachers get buy in.

I have been lucky enough to be part of my school’s committee for a partially funded grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The purpose of the grant, through the New England Secondary School Consortium and managed by Great School Partnership, is to further the implementation of mastery-based grading and personalized learning in our school. What I have learned over the past 4 years working with Great Schools Partnership is that instruction goes nowhere for our without formative assessment.

In my Tier 2 RtI classes, I give mini lessons and then a formative assessment. For those of my students who get it, they can move on to show their knowledge through practice, and for those who need more help, they work with me until the concept clarity is stronger. It works the same way in the regular classroom: Instruction moves forward according to the formative assessment. Throughout the period/block I am assessing whether or not my students are learning. Formative assessment doesn’t just occur once a day otherwise the kids could be working down the wrong path. It is my job as a teacher to help them stay on track and keep their learning on target.

By using these formative assessments, I am meeting the needs of my learners whether it is in a class of 25-30 students or in a room of 5-8. The children reflect on their learning and measure their own comprehension, share it with me, and I check it.

My plan for the next minutes and days are based on the progress students have presently made. I cannot forge ahead if students are not learning the present skills, and that is what educators have done for years: Keep moving without checking knowledge. Periodic quizzes and unit tests have their places, but only when students are ready for them, and that may very well not have been when the teacher thought it was going to be.

We have to pay attention to our students; we can’t move on with a unit plan if they don’t get it! And this all leads to personalized learning a topic soon to come. In the meantime, put formative assessments into action.

**If you are interested, below is the link to a professional development session I put together as Chairman of the English Department for our teachers to connect differentiation and formative assessment.

Formative Assessment as Differentiation Part 1

 

 

 

The Other Part of the Writing Process — The First Part

So many times teachers wonder why kids can’t write.  “We’ve taught them.”  “We’ve showed them.”  “They just aren’t doing it.”  “Why don’t they get it?”  As a teacher coach I frequently hear these comments not only from English teachers but from social studies, science, and even math educators.

The problem  is students aren’t given enough time to think and process before writing.  Yes, we give them pre-formed organizers, but those don’t work for every student.  Let’s talk about that in a moment.

The bigger issue as I was discussing this week with a literacy-minded science teacher — and those are hard to come by — is that students need to be able to think and play with a topic in their minds on their own before we ask them to put pen to paper.

We push them into writing without trying to grasp ideas on their own. Thinking gives the brain an opportunity to get adjusted and absorb some of what they have just heard or read.  

Students are so used to immediately being ready to respond that in my own classes or when I’m modeling for other teachers I frequently have to remind students to wait and think.  When arms are in the air thinking has stopped. In a world of immediate action, our students are used to fast action.  Hands up right away means kids are only thinking about what they are going to say — they are not still playing with the concepts in their minds.  They are missing that depth of thought.  Teachers need to push for depth; only if we push them will they become used to thinking and searching more deeply for answers — not the first response that pops into their head.

After that minute or two of thinking and even jotting  a note or two — not sentences — about the topic, students need to further process.  

Then when students have the opportunity to turn & talk, speak with their elbow buddy, or share with a partner or or small group, this interaction provides an opportunity for validation and hopefully an “aha” moment of concept realization.  It adds additional thoughts to help them think through their own conclusions. But they have to have that moment of introspection  or they just rely on the others for answers.  

Share-outs are perfect formative assessment time.  The teacher gathers information on each student’s contribution — or lack thereof — as well as the insight that is shared with their peers.  

For the student who struggles in a subject area a sentence starter might help them think on their own.  But  they still have to have that deliberation time to consider  the subject.  We do our learners a disservice when we force them into writing before they are prepared.  

 

Why aren’t reading strategies taught more often?

As a young reader, I was totally confused.  If you are interested you can read about my reading issues in a past blog.  But more importantly and on topic for today, my comprehension only turned a corner once I slowly came to realize that if I could picture the story in my head, I understood the book or short story much better!  NO TEACHER HAD EVER TOLD ME TO DO THAT!  I was always told here are the sounds and words, read.  Somehow, Puff, Dick, and Jane were supposed to magically make it all come together.  It didn’t.  Reading was a puzzle that couldn’t come together for me for years and years.

Reading strategies come naturally to good readers, but those are only a portion of the population.  I wasn’t in that lucky community of good readers, and none of my teachers ever taught me any reading strategies.

So once the puzzle piece of visualization took form, I had to constantly  remind myself to “see” the characters.  It was frustrating; I read slowly which often caused me to have to re-read because I missed details.  By the way, that is another misconception by many people:  Re-reading is not the comprehension cure-all.  Sometimes re-reading is useful but not every time.  But when I did live through the frustration to find the detail that helped me visualize a character or location, the story started to become real.  It was amazing how this picture in my head so quickly impacted my willingness to read.  I had no idea that this was what I was supposed to do!

Hence my passion and dedication to teaching all students — regardless of their ability — reading strategies.  I cannot emphasize how critical these puzzle pieces are to reading comprehension.

When I work with struggling readers now, they are frequently stumped that visualizing a text is something they should do.   Most of my students have no idea what the word means let alone how to go about it. When I suggest that some day it can come naturally to them, they think I’m nuts.  So we begin — whether it is grade 6 or 7 or 8 — using markers and paper:  Listening to a short text, I read to them and they draw a sketch of what they see in their mind.  Students are often worried about their artistic ability. I remind them of our purpose:  We are practicing visualizing the text.  As a former co-teacher of mine, A. Warner, told me, “It is making mental movies in your head of what you read.”

Visualizing is probably the most powerful puzzle piece; however, the other 13 strategies are just as important.  The list can be overwhelming, but little by little I whittle away working with my students to help them learn and apply each one.  I have them not only learn the term, but what it means.  If they can’t explain it, they can’t use it.  We practice the reading strategies over and over with independent and class texts — including defining them so students are clear what they are doing.  Some students have already mastered some of the skills so they move on to other strategies.  After all, good teachers differentiate for the needs of the student — even when it comes to the use of reading strategies.

So why aren’t reading strategies taught more often?  One part of the puzzle is that secondary English teachers are not taught to be “reading” teachers.  Reading specialists know to overtly teach reading strategies, but not all students work with the reading specialists.   Colleges don’t emphasize reading strategies in methods classes.  Take a hint universities; this needs to be added! Many teachers are already good readers.  Again, it is true that reading strategies come naturally to good readers — without cognitively working at it, they apply the strategies as they read.  However, in my family alone, I estimate one-half to two-thirds are actually good readers — not everyone.  I am a self-made good reader.  There are more of us out there, but it is a painful journey.

In this new school year, my goal of my second year as a literacy/instructional coach is to help teachers implement reading strategies in their classrooms.  A few instructors were willing to do so last year, and they were impressed with the results.  It is only with the support of the classroom teachers that students will apply the strategies so frequently that they become ingrained and a natural part of reading.  Then the puzzle of reading becomes whole for them too.

The following strategies list is one that I have accumulated over time.   I cannot name any one source; I have adapted it multiple times from what I’ve learned from my own experiences and from working with my students.

READING STRATEGIES THAT WORK FOR ALL READERS (with fiction and nonfiction)

  • Draw Inferences   —  Put clues together to figure out what the author means
  • Create VisualizationsSee the plot or article info in your mind – make mental movies
  • Ask Questions  — Ask why characters/people act the way they do – ask why author included information in the text
  • Determine ImportanceFigure out what is important in the story/article and what is not
  • Clarify  — Be clear about what is going on in the story/article with details & without – Ask am I understanding the story?????????  Be sure you know what is going on before reading on.  Don’t be confused — be clear!
  • Retell and SummarizeRetelling is being able to tell main ideas as well as essential lesser ideas; whereas summarizing is telling just the main ideas of the text
  • Construct Connections – Connect to another text including movies, poems, TV, cartoons, books, etc. as well as something heard about, something in friend’s/family’s life (text to text and text to world)
  • Monitor and Adjust ComprehensionPay attention if you understand or not or if you got info wrong, you correct it
  • Make PredictionsDecide what you think is going to happen in a book based on info/clues you read – making a hypothesis about the book — then you have to clarify if you have correctly predicted
  • Adjust Fluency Rate – Change how fast or slow you read based on what is going on in the book and on your understanding
  • Use Vocabulary — Figure out word meanings based on other words & events in story/article (use context clues) without using the dictionary unless you absolutely have to do so
  • Chunk phrasesRead phrases and chunks of words at a time — not reading individual words which slows down readers
  • Speak with intonationWhen reading, read with emotion not like a robot; read as if you are the character speaking
  • Analyze and critiqueAnalyze the author’s writing and why he or she wrote and created the people/scenes as he/she did; critique how the author’s work and words impacts the story