Some our of kindergarten students read above grade level. How do we keep them challenged? A colleague of mine, Lisa, engaged a small group in close reading of an informational text about energy with great success. Here are some photos and tips she shared with me.
Just some background. These nine students were reading at a late first grade level or higher in the spring of their kindergarten year. Lisa met with all nine of them at once. The text they read closely was A to Z’s Where We Get Energy – a level K text. You might just pick some key paragraphs from the text you choose. There’s no need to closely read a whole book.
- Take notes together and then gradually release responsibility. The students might read the whole text on their own to start so they can get some sense of the big picture. Together closely read a sentence at a time. Discuss the meaning and then pick important words to write in their notes. Release responsibility – maybe they just tackle a sentence at a time and then you regroup. The photo below is a little fuzzy but it gives you an idea of what a student at this level can do as far as note-taking with support.
- Give it a couple of weeks or more. Lisa said it took several weeks – a few lessons each week. She had a wide variety of readers in her room and many other lower groups to meet with more often.
- Provide lots of opportunities for them to summarize their notes ORALLY with a partner. This builds bridges to writing and to speaking fluently on a topic. You might prompt them by saying, “Turn and talk to your partner. What did you just learn in this paragraph? Use your notes to help you.” Some groups will need to orally rehearse with you before they talk with a partner.
- Discuss how they can present their information and then let groups of three work together to tackle this task by creating some type of visual.
These photos are fuzzy BUT you can still tell there’s so much thinking that must have happened in this group – they have arrows and visuals as well as text boxes! They are clearly organizing their thinking into categories as well.
- Provide time for them to present! I saw pictures of these kids with their posters – oh, the proud smiles!!!!!
BTW – All kindergarten students can do some level of research. Tony Stead proved that to us in Is That a Fact? After I read this, I was a convert to the idea that even our Pre-A and emergent readers can engage in deep thinking and learning about nonfiction topics – with their peers and on their own.
Hope this helps.