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Home : 2006 : Dec : 29

    By Penny

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    I teach reading improvement and I feel one of my jobs is to help the kids read nonfiction texts more effectively. That's generally what I use textmapping for. (It could be used for other things, but I haven't tried it for fiction yet.) I use it as a strategy. It's a comprehension tool. It wouldn't be practical to use all the time, but when you want to make a point and show the kids "the big picture" in the text.

    I've copied science and history textbook chapters and had the kids color code headings, subheadings and chunk the text underneath so they can see by a glance how much space was used for each section. We mark pictures, charts, graphs, and captions. Highlight vocab words in one color and context clues or definitions with another. We also mark any other text feature. This helps my kids notice the textfeatures. They usually skip over those things. We look at the scroll after it's color coded and talk about what is obviously more important and what the author wants them to notice. We then read, code the text and answer questions. The kids say all the marking and coding helps them a lot. It also does help them to see the big picture and the points the author wants them to notice. It helps them understand why textfeatures are important and need to be paid attention to.

    I've done it with TAKS passages, too in preparation for the state test. It helps us feel like we're making progress on those test passages and is a lot better than flipping transparencies all around. The passages don't seem quite as endless when we can see the whole thing at once.

    Basically I make one scroll for each small group. Of course, I run Read 180 and have Small Group rotations come up to me so it works easily for me. We spread the scroll out on the table or tape it to the board. When we do TAKS passages we tape it to the board and do the sidewriting by every paragraph when we work in Small Group.

    In a regular class I would split the kids up in groups and demonstrate how to mark it up with a scroll taped to the board. Make sure they have a place to spread out the scroll. You can tell at a glance how much progress they've made and how well they understand the text.

    Personally I love textmapping and my students say it does help them. The only disadvantage would be having the room to work on the scroll. The scrolls do get cumbersome at times.

    Hoped this helped.

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