Sunday, November 11, 2012

What Kind of Reader Are You?

What a beautiful weekend it has been here in Southern California!  Today, we got our first hint of Fall.  I love it!  I hope everyone is doing well, especially all of our teaching friends who were impacted by Sandy.

Things have been really getting exciting in my classroom.  As I have mentioned before, we have been diving into non-fiction text features for quite sometime.  We recently began writing our "Expert Books" on Bats. This theme was perfect for Halloween Week and we had so much fun doing research, making crafts, watching movies, note-taking, and discussing these fascinating animals. We should be finishing those up this week...I hope.

We used this FREE CRAFTIVITY from A Cupcake for the Teacher to practice note-taking and summarizing our learning from a Discovery Education video we watched together.  I made the little lined-boxes you see on the wings, so that my students could write 1) one fact they learned, 2) one WOW!, 3) or a question.  The kids really loved it.

One thing I have been working on for what seems f-o-r-e-v-e-r is putting together some of the Reading Workshop lessons I like to do in the beginning of the year.  I finally have my first one packaged-up and ready.  This lesson is one of my favorites, and most powerful! 

“You can't know where you're going until you know where you've been.” - Unknown

The idea behind the above quote was the inspiration for the materials enclosed in this packet.  I needed my students to reflect on their current reading behaviors in order for them to understand how to improve as readers.

Teaching my students to be aware, active, and self-reflective readers has been some of the most powerful teaching I have done in my 18 years in the classroom.  I do this lesson in the beginning of the year, before we begin learning about meaningful reading strategies like Making Connections, Asking Questions, Visualizing and Inferring, Evaluating and Synthesizing.

Included in this packet are: 4 reading posters (Title poster, High-Flying/Strategic Reader, Chug-Along Reader, and Racing Reader)

A master text on snakes, and 3 reading scripts that allow you to easily mimic each reader-type's typical reading behaviors.  I've outlined 3 types of readers  in this activity:

High-Flying:  These students are your on-level, or above level readers.  They read voraciously, fluently, and for meaning.

Chug-Along:  These students are struggling readers for whatever reason, be it, language or accuracy issues. Often, they realize when their reading is not making sense.  However, they either do not stop to fix their comprehension, or do not know how to fix it.  They just keep "chugging-along."

Finally, the Racing Reader:  This reader just reads the words, and usually not very well.  They do not have the skills or understanding that their reading is supposed to mean something.

A graphic organizer for noting Reading Behaviors, and Teacher's Answer Guide

The general idea of this activity is to have students make note of what reading behaviors each reader-type has, and then suggest ways to improve the quality of reading.  Finally, students complete a self-assessment sheet, and write one reading goal for themselves (primary and intermediate-lined included)

I completed this activity with my second graders in three sessions.  Each session lasted between 30-45 minutes.  A detailed "Suggested Instructional Sequence" is included, as well.

I cannot tell you what a difference this lesson has made in my students' reading.  They are much more deliberate and aware, when they read.  We discuss the strategies they are using on their own, everyday after "Reading to Self" (Silent Reading) time.  I have students catch themselves being "Racing Readers"!  They come up to me and tell me how they noticed they were just reading the words, and how they stopped and reread for meaning.  It really does not get any better than that!

You can find this pack in my TPT store, HERE.

Oops, I almost forgot!  These lessons have the students doing quite a bit of partner discussion.  So, I have a little FREEBIE to offer.  I adapted this from Jill deGoede, who presented a meaningful reading strategies workshop at my school several weeks ago.  I hope some of you will find it useful.  Click on the image below to get your copy. (Update:  You can get a fresh, updated version of this poster by "liking" my Facebook page -just click the image below.  Then, go to my FB page and you will see a tab that says "Fans Only Freebie.")

A big "thank you" to all our Veterans, especially my favorite dad!  

Have a great week.


  1. I like your Turn and Talk guidelines. I've been looking for something to help my class and this really helps!Thanks.

  2. Love it! Heading over to your shop now. Just repinned as well.

  3. Just discovered your blog! I'm your newest follower! Stop and check out my blog when you get a chance!

    Timeouts and Tootsie Rolls



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