My colleague, Andrea, who reads aloud complex nonfiction texts to her 5th grade students, spends about 30 minutes a day engaged in this practice. She reads aloud, but also stops to use mind maps (see image above) to help the students keep the information organized cognitively. In The Impossible Rescue (Sandler, 2012), there are several people involved in the rescue in several places over time and Andrea found this map helpful to review before reading each day and then to continue to use as a way to keep track. Quick and easy.
Andrea also wanted the students to write in response to The Impossible Rescue as a way to articulate and deepen their understanding of themes and text structure. As a bridge from discussion to independent writing, Andrea engaged the students in shared writing of a letter (see images below). Notice how Andrea uses vocabulary like detected, themes, displayed, selflessness, noticed, text structure, etc. – this shared writing experience is also an opportunity to expand students’ vocabulary.
The students then moved to writing letters to Andrea and to me (as the guest reader of their letters); this is an opportunity to move from whole group instruction to individual instruction – reading their letters, assessing, and then teaching at the point of need in your written response. More on this soon.
A HUGE THANKS TO ANDREA FOR SHARING WITH ME – and with readers of this blog!!!!