Clanin's Corner

April Newsletter

The Magic of Three

When students enter middle school or even high school, several things change for the students; however, one should not lose sight of the THREE critical teaching and learning practices that should be an integral part of instruction in ALL subject areas.

1. Interactive Read Aloud/Think Aloud

2. Instructional Reading and Writing

3. Independent Reading and Writing

Science and Social Studies teachers don't stop reading yet! These three practices are easily applicable in your content areas, as well.

Different Resources to Learn More

Interactive Read Aloud/Think Aloud


  • Teachers model how to approach the reading material in their content areas.
  • Teachers can observe students' thinking processes.
  • Quick check for understanding to identify students who need additional guidance.
  • Learning becomes interactive not passive which leads to engagement.


  • Involve students as soon as possible.

Suggestions for Implementation:

  • Reading and writing are taught not just assigned.
  • Use short stories,mentor texts, excerpts from novels, newsletters, and articles that match the topic, theme, or genre to support readers and writers.
  • Teacher models in a think aloud how he/she applies a strategy to build the students' mental model on how the strategy works.
  • Lasts no longer than 10 minutes.

Possible Skills and Strategies:

  • Making inferences
  • Identify central ideas and themes
  • Locating important details
  • Skimming for details
  • Author's purpose
  • Purpose of informational texts and literature reading and writing
  • How informational text structures support comprehension and writing- compare/contrast, cause/effect, problem/solution, sequence, question/answer
  • Vocabulary building- academic, affixes, figurative language
  • RAISE and/or Claim, Cite, Comment
  • Note-taking
  • And...

Instructional Reading in ALL Content Areas


  • Teachers make the difference.
  • Teachers model how to tackle all texts within their content.
  • Student who read books that are above their instructional level tend to shut down and become disengaged.
  • Students who practice skills and strategies with the teacher below their instructional level may have difficulty applying/implementing the work during independent work.


  • When student practice skills and strategies with the teacher using material at their instructional level, they are set up for more success.
  • To teach students to comprehend and think deeply about instructional materials to enlarge their vocabulary, enlarge their prior knowledge, and develop understandings of complex concepts such as human rights.

Suggestions for Implementation:

  • Happens during class with the teacher.
  • After the interactive reading and thinking, introduce the day's teaching point based off the reading.
  • Ensure that students have reading material at their instructional level- 95% accuracy and 85% comprehension.
  • Teacher checks for understanding of the day's teaching point before sending students off to work independently.

Independent Time to Read and Write in ALL Content Areas


  • Help develop students' verbal abilities. Although it does not always make one a better communicator, those who read tend to have a more varied range of words to express how they feel and to get their point across. This increases exponentially with the more volumes you consume, giving you a higher level of vocabulary to use in everyday life.
  • If you want students to improve in science and social studies give them a related text (book, short story, article...) that they can read.
  • Increasing reading and writing across the curriculum improves student achievement.
  • Reading and writing informs us, transports us, empowers us, and brings us joy. It is through reading and writing that we learn about ourselves and the world around us.


  • Every child deserves to be an independent reader and writer.

Suggestions for Implementation:

  • Set aside time daily for the students to write and/or read.
  • In addition to instructional reading, students should read thirty to fifty books a year —books they can read with 99% to 100% accuracy(instructional level). Like sports, to improve their reading students practice skills and build automaticity in applying specific strategies.
  • Give students choice in independent reading materials and as much as possible with instructional texts. Choice results in motivation and engagement because students explore their passions and interests.
  • Make it easy to access reading materials.