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    Reading
    By Curious

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    Hello-

    Right now I am utilizing the book Stone Fox to teach and practice different roles for literature discussion groups (summarizer, vocabulary enricher, passage picker, illustrator, and discussion director). I am not too happy that I jumped into a book right away, because I feel I should have started the year off working on independent reading and responding in the readers notebook.

    My kids are responding in an at home reading journal one time a week, and I have been working with them on writing a quality response. Some of what I get is good, and others are stinky. They have been doing this in the younger grades, so it is not new to them. I have been responding back to them each week to give them suggestions to improve their response and it has helped for some. Today, we worked on writing a good journal response after read aloud. We all wrote a response together, complete with topic sentence that includes the response prompt, supporting details that include evidence from the book, and a closing statement that reminds the reader of the main idea of the response. Tomorrow, I am going to ask the kids to write a response after read aloud again in their readers notebook. I am hoping that this will help them improve in their response journals.

    As far as summarizing goes, it may help to create a story frame that is posted in the room to help students to write better summaries. It is a generic template that can be used when creating summaries. Typically, the story frame is an example of a summary that is lower level and I expect more from my more skilled writers and readers.

    I don't know how to fit it all in. There are so many components to a good reading program. One suggestion would be to find ways to teach reading skills such as summarizing or responding at alternative times beyond when you are working on your novel. For example, if you use Scholastic News, use it as a time to work on summarizing or reading for information. Or if you have content reading (say in science you are studying plants and you have some non-fiction that goes with your unit) find ways to have kids work on summarizing. Read aloud is a time when you can work on responding. That way, maybe you could spend more time discussing themes in your novel, or making predictions, vocabulary development, use of metaphors and similes, author's writing style, character development- - other reading skills.

    These are just a few ideas. I don't have all the answers, and I am often feeling I am not doing an adequate job in my reading program as well. I think such is the life of a conscientious, hardworking teacher... always looking for ways to improve or better meet the needs of our kiddos.



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