The Book Fort
Instructional Ideas for Immediate Implementation
Welcome to The Book Fort: Issue 24
Missed previous issues? Find them below:
Week Twenty Four: Building Strategic Readers (Pt. 1)
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing some innovative strategies included in another Solution Tree text, 20 Literacy Strategies to Meet the Common Core: Increasing Rigor in Middle and High School (2013). If you’re one of my many elementary school friends, don’t fret! This text absolutely works for the lower grades and the strategies can be easily adapted. In fact, one of the authors, Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins, has also published several similar books that target K - 6 and has a background in both the classroom and the library.
Having been trained at several Solution Tree national workshops and local professional development sessions facilitated by their consultants, I am a believer in their work, which is one reason I chose another text published by them. The other, however, was the acknowledgement and affirmation early in the text that to be skilled readers, students must also be strategic readers (7). I know from my own teaching experience with at-risk student far below level in reading that strategies work; proficient readers use them without consciously thinking about it because they automatically choose the right strategy to make meaning and inferences. The problem seems to be that we teach strategies, but not reading; we model the strategies, but don’t do a very good job sometimes of making our thinking about how to select the right strategy in the right situations while reading. This texts addresses that and provides guidelines for modeling effectively.
This week, I focused on the first section of the text to pull out three literacy strategies for you, which is Key Ideas and Details, the first strand in the anchor standards. What I have provided for you is just a tiny taste of the what the book has to offer. If you find it useful, the whole text is available online in various places, including Amazon. Download reproducibles from Solution Tree here.
McEwan-Adkins, Elaine K. & Burnett, Allyson J. 20 Literacy Strategies to Meet the Common Core: Increasing Rigor in Middle and High School. Solution Tree, 2013.
Key Ideas & Details: Anchor Standards 1 & 2
Strategy 1: Read-Decide-Explain
“Some readers become so enamored by their own experiences and creative thoughts that they fail to recognize that comprehension is about getting meaning from the text — particularly when that text requires a response in writing” (28-29). When students struggle to extract and make meaning, it is certainly easier to tell them what the text means so they can get to the business of making inferences or determining theme. The problem is, in saving time, we are crippling them and making them even more dependent on us than ever. This strategy includes a graphic organizer that forces students to pay attention to close reading (pictured here). The teacher prepares the chunks, essential questions, and numbers the sentences. The students use the organizer to answer essential questions about the text. This is an excellent alternative to multiple choice, or a way to guide students through the reading to prepare for them later.
Strategy 2: Read Like a Detective
“Skilled readers have learned that inferring involves not just reading between the lines to determine the author’s intent, but also reading beyond the lines to draw on their own background experiences to make sense of the text” (58). The work of a detective is very similar to that of a skilled reader; they both examine the facts in front of them and draw conclusions based on both the text and their prior knowledge. This strategy prompts students to consider reading as a crime scene in that way. The teacher chunks the text again, makes an inferential statement to guide the work, and the students generate the rest of the answers in the graphic organizer (pictured here). Eventually, students work toward completing the whole organizer, including the inferential statement, on their own.
Strategy 3: Snapshot Summary
Website of the Week
Tool of the Week
What Students Are Reading
Stink and the Attack of the Slime Mold by Megan McDonald
Cade B., who currently lives in Germany with his family, recommends Stink and the Attack of the Slime Mold. Cade says, “I think Stink has lots of cool adventures! In the book he has adventures with a slime mold named Mr. McGoo. Kids would like the Stink books because the stories are really cool and super funny.” This Scholastic series, geared for grades 1 - 5, has several books to help kids stay engaged as they learn to read.
Shark Bites by Heather Dakota & Dan Jankowski
Aldridge Elementary (TX) first grader Beck recommends Shark Bites, written by Heather Dakota & illustrated by Dan Jankowski. He says, “I like this book because it is filled with facts about sharks. It even has real pictures of different types of sharks. My favorite is the Tiger Shark!” This high-interest nonfiction text will teach kids all about how and where sharks live, what they eat, and how they swim. Check out this and other cool books by Heather Dakota here.
Coming Out Series by Sylvia Aguilar Zeleny
Marion C. Moore (KY) student Mimi just finished one of the Coming Out Series books, Alex. She gave it five stars because she enjoyed the protagonist’s journey and the strong relationships between friends. Check out the author on Twitter @sylviruk and updated book recommendations from Moore Mustangs grades 6-12 at #ReadMoore and #KnowMoore.