3 Ways to Improve Students' Responses to Reading

This is my second throw back post that I originally shared over on iTeach 3rd. Take a look to help your students improve in their responding to reading.

I'm here to share 3 ways to improve your students' responses to their reading. As I tell my students, we respond to our reading for a few reasons. 1) I'm not in their brains! I don't know what they are thinking, what's easy for them, what's hard... so we need to take time to respond to our reading. We respond to our reading both with the speaking and the writing domain so both are included here today. 2) As we learn to become better readers, we need to stop and check our thinking often. I always tell them that they won't do this for the rest of their reading lives the way we do it right now in 3rd grade... but the things we practice now will help it become automatic for us later so we spend time writing and sharing about our thinking often to help it become automatic. 

Usually with that, I have them buy into the importance as to why we do this. It's also a good talking piece with parents who sometimes think that because their child can read fast and accurately, they don't always fully comprehend their reading. So how do I get students to think deeply and completely about their reading? I've got 3 tips!

If you've been around here for a little while, you'll know that I love rubrics and language. Both are in this post. I'm guilty though of not always using rubrics to help both me and my students know what to expect. I've found that a simple rubric for each skill/focus is easiest for me to see what students know what to do and what they are missing to get to the next step.

These rubrics are based off of specific skills and focuses. The top is a 3-point rubric that focuses on 2 things: the reading focus and the language focus. The reading focus targets "how" the student is able to respond to their reading on a particular focus (such as character motivation). The language focus is usually a grammar focus to help them  communicate their idea more clearly. The bottom rubric targets "what" their work tells you as a teacher on their thinking level when it comes to that focus. 

Two ways to use this: 
  1. Cut them in half and just give students the top half. Have them glue it into their reading notebooks to reference so when they are completing a jotting on that focus, they now what you are expecting. You can keep the bottom half as a talking point if you need to pull a strategy group. 
  2. Have them glue the whole page into their notebook so that students know clearly what to work towards and what their work tells you of their thinking while reading.

I'm a big proponent of graphic organizers. I've found the most success when I give a graphic organizer and have students fill it out. Later, students draw it themselves and modify to make it work for them. I've given my students a blank page in their reading notebooks and have told them to just jot during their reading... all I get usually is a mess of thoughts and I struggle to identify what my students are even thinking during their reading. So graphic organizers help both my students think completely and help me notice what they rock at and where they have some gaps for me to help fill.

For our character units (we have a series unit, mystery unit, and biography unit that we can use all these organizers for), we pay attention to our characters... a lot. We think about their problem, but not just their problem- we think about how they react to it and what that tells us about them. We think about their actions and choices and how they impact relationships and problems. We think about character motivations and what is pushing them to do things. All of this helps us develop strong ideas and traits for our characters. I've found simple box graphic organizers with question prompts to be very helpful to get students to think deeper.

The last tip to is help them communicate their thinking clearly through language. This is a great time and way to integrate grammar into meaningful instruction. I've made little mini-charts that students glue right into their notebook to reference often. Even better, if you change the printing settings and scale down a bit, they fit perfectly into a composition notebook. These mini-charts are meant to provide language supports and expand vocabulary to help students get to a deeper level. I've used an adjective chart to help students recommend books, adverbs to describe how their character reacts to something to give a better picture of their characters intent, question matrixes to help them formulate stronger questions, and sentence frames to initiate conversations about books in book clubs. 


Sometimes I add the language cues right to my graphic organizers to help it become even more accessible. 

I've found that by implementing these 3 tips, my students are producing more quality work and it allows me to see where I need to put my efforts. 

Want to give it a try? Click on the image below try using it. If you find it helpful, you can check out the whole set of rubrics, graphic organizers, and mini-charts in my TpT store!

Image Map


No comments

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top