Visualizing - "I have a picture in my head..."
Picture This! - When we picture things in our head that we read, it is important for us to be able to describe what we see, or to draw out those images. For Picture This!, we can read a part of a story, or be read to and then draw what we see in our mind based on the information given to us in the text. It is great for us to compare what we have drawn and see what others see in their heads. It is also important for us to justify why we have drawn what we have.
Sensory Chart - A sensory chart is similar to a lot of the "Y-Charts" we do in other lessons. In this case, instead of "I see, I think, I wonder," we are relying on our senses to share what we have read. Visualising isn't just about making pictures, it is about the whole sensory experience. Read a passage together, or on your own, and use the sensory chart to share what the section of the story you just read "Looks Like, Feels Like or Sounds Like."
Post Your Senses - This is an activity that is the first of many where we get to use Post-It Notes to find parts in what we are reading that we think are worth sharing. In this case, we are looking for parts in our books that show anything related to the senses. Whether it be visual, auditory, olfactory, kinaesthetic or emotional, we can place Post-It Notes in our book to show where they are written. We can even write, or draw on the Post-It Notes to show our thoughts.
Changing Images - Sometimes what we visualise changes as the text goes on and as we talk to others. With this engagement, we have a chance to add to and change our visualising after speaking with others and at different points in the story. Use the four panels and prompts to help you, as well as taking time to talk with a friend about what they think.
Information Images - It is important for us to create images in Non-Fiction and informational texts as well as in Fiction texts. With this activity, we can read some information reports, or scientific texts and create images that show the key information. As with some of our other activities, it can be great to work together when we share our thoughts and drawings. So, grab a big piece of poster paper before drawing your key information together. This activity goes really well with our Visual Note Taking techniques.
Prior Knowledge and Making Connections - "I know this because..."
Connecting with the Text - Break out the Post-It Notes! For this activity, we look through the text and put Post-It Notes in parts of the story that we can connect with. Connections take different forms. We may relate the text to something in our lives, or something we have read in other books, or something that is going on in the world. Use different colour Post-It Notes, drawings and writing to find parts you connect with in the story. Share your connections with others to see what they see, feel and think.
Mind Map - A mind map can be used for all sorts of different occasions. The best part about a mind map, is that we can use it to show our prior knowledge and then add to it as we read or discover more in the story / text. Make a mind map at the beginning of the story to show your prior knowledge and then at different parts of the story, add to it to show connections you have made. You can even go back and look at the Post-It Notes you placed to help you add to your mind map.
I Used to Think, Now I Think - As with our mind map, I Used to Think, Now I Think is an activity that allows us to show how our thoughts and feelings have changed. Our prior knowledge about something may actually be wrong, or we could have misconceptions. When we read, our ideas may change and we may make connections that reshape the way we think. Using your mind map, or simply after reading, draw a line in the middle of your page and write down where your thoughts were and where they are now.
Think and Share - With think and share, we can take a look at and think about things from the view of different characters in the story. We can read a story together and write down the main actions that take place on the sheet. On the other side of the sheet, we can think about the thoughts, feelings and actions that different characters take during those main events. It is very important for us to justify why we think the character would be feeling or thinking that way based on what we read in the text.
Linking Lines - The activity Linking Lines requires us to read several texts. Once we have a few texts in our bank, we can write down the titles on a large piece of paper and draw lines linking those titles together. Along those lines, we can write and draw how we feel these texts connect together. We can even do this linking to other things - such as movies, or TV shows or cartoons and comics that we have seen and read.
Venn Diagrams - A Venn Diagram can be used in many ways, either to compare characters, or books, or places, etc. See how you can use a Venn Diagram in different ways to make connections with what you read throughout the year.
Questioning - "I wonder..."
Clouds of Wonder - As we read, we are often asking questions, either out loud, or in our head, related to the story. These might be When, What, Who, What if, Where, Why and How questions. At different points in a story, whether we are reading with a friend or on our own, it is good for us to sometimes stop and write down some of the questions we have. They may be answered in the text, or they may continue to burn in our mind.
Stop and Think Cards - Good readers take time to stop at different points while they read to make sure they understand what is going on and to check that they are asking questions. With our stop and think cards, we can mark off different points in the story to stop and reflect. Read what is written on the card when you get to those points and answer the questions on your own or with a friend.
BDA Questions - As you are reading, you might want to come up with questions. This is helpful when reading both Fiction and Non-Fiction texts. Using our Before, During and After Reading sheet, we can come up with questions throughout the process. You can do this with a partner or on your own, or while reading information texts, narratives or any other text types.
Inferring - "The author is saying..."
Character Self-Portrait - When we create a character self-portrait we have to think about how the character views him / herself. The author has put lots of clues into the book to tell you about what the character thinks and feels, as well as how they look. Use the clues, like a detective would to put together a complete picture of different characters in the book. You can even use Post-It Notes to mark off different parts in the story that will help you to create your portrait.
Interview - This activity involves acting and answering questions as if you were one of the characters in the story. One student can ask the question, while the other answers based on what they know about the character from the text. This can be done for many different characters in the story. Make sure you are able to justify your answers and actions with evidence from the text.
Character Rating Scale - Some of the characters in our story have different qualities that they show. They can be brave or cowardly, kind or mean, active or lazy, etc. Using the character rating scale, we can show what qualities we think they have on a scale system, but also show what parts of the text tell us about the character. It is always important that we justify our thoughts with evidence from the text. This is a great activity for doing that. We can also rate the character, not just from our perspective, but from the perspective of others in the text. There are lots of ways we can rate the characters.
What’s my Point of View? - We all like stories that are written from a different point of view, as we all have different points of view. With this activity, we look at and assume the role of different characters at different parts of the story, so that we can tell it how it is from their point of view. It is still important for us use evidence from the text to justify our thoughts. Find a buddy, read a story and have a chat with each other sharing your different points of view.
Make a Prediction - "I predict..."
Split Images - With split images, you and a partner pick a picture book and take it in turns to describe the pictures on each page and make predictions about what is happening in the story. It is important not to read the text at this point in time. Make predictions on each page for the whole book. When you're done, you can read the story together to see how close your predictions were to the actual text.
Personal Predictions - We make predictions all through our reading. With personal predictions, we are asked to predict at different parts in the story. First, we make a prediction based on what we see on the cover page. Next, we are given key words from the story to sort into the order we predict they will happen. With those key words, we make a prediction again about what will happen. We can share these predictions with a friend before we read the story and see if we were correct. You can even read a story yourself and make key word cards for a friend to make predictions with.
Crystal Ball - What happens to a character when the story is over? With a series of books, there are more stories that happen after the first book is done and some of the characters continue on and have other adventures. If there is no second book though, what do we think would happen to the character? With Crystal Ball, we are asked to make predictions, based on what we know about the character, as to what will happen to that character in the future. What will they do? What parts of their personality would make them do what they do?
Think Sheet - A think sheet is a great tool for both fiction and non-fiction texts. We ask a question and make predictions about what we are reading at certain parts in the book. After we make our prediction, we read and then write down what the text says. This can be done after at different chapters, or a after different subheadings in information texts. Use the sheet attached to help you track your thoughts and predictions.
Extended Anticipation Guide - This activity helps us with non-fiction texts to see what we know about certain subjects before reading and to show what we know after reading. The teacher will provide you with a series of statements, some of which may be true and others which may be false. You goal is to make predictions about those statements before reading and to state whether you think each statement is true or false. After reading, you should be able to find out if what you thought was correct and to reference where you found the information in the text.
Determining Importance - "This is important because..."
What’s Your Story? - After we read, it's a good idea to make sure we know what the important information in in the story. We may find that after reading several stories that many stories have things in common. Use the sheet provided to write down the key information in the story that you have read. Share this information with a friend. Keep a collection of these sheets so that you can compare stories you have read over time.
Famous Five Key Words - When reading through a text, especially information reports, it is important for us to be able to find key words. Sometimes called technical vocabulary, key words will help us to sort out what is important in the text. When reading an information report, or a story, try to pull out the key words that you think help to explain what is happening or what you want to learn. From those key words, try to narrow it down to just 5. Share your 5 key words with a friend and see if they can predict what the story is about, or figure out the important information from those 5 words.
Very Important Points - Hooray! More Post-It Notes! In Very Important Points, we use Post-It Notes to mark down important information we find in our story or text. Stick the notes to parts in the book and make notes on them to show why they are important. Try not to stick too many notes so that you are really getting the most important information. Compare your VIPs with other students in the class to see if you think similarly or differently.
Main Idea Pyramid - This pyramid is a graphic organizer that is meant to help you to write out the main points and ideas in the story, but also to figure out what is the most important. Using the graphic organizer, write down the main points on the base of the pyramid. You may want to brainstorm on another sheet first. Re-read your main points and then write down key words or main themes on the second level of the pyramid. Then, take all the information from the second level and try to create a sentence for the top level that explains the main idea of the text.
Summarizing - "This book is about..."
Oral Summary - When you are doing group reading, take it in turns reading parts of the story and then summarizing out loud to your friends. Since they are reading the same story, they will be able to help you and include any important details you may have missed. This can also be done when we are being read to. Have a friend or family member read aloud to you and practice summarizing what they have read.
Reciprocal Retell - This activity involves a small group passing on the retell from one person to the next. Person 1 tells the first event that happened, then Person 2 tells the second event. This happens until all the events have been retold. This can be done out loud, or in writing. Try your best to work together to tell all the events that matter in the story in a logical sequence.
Tweet About It - A tweet can only be 280 characters. That means you have to be brief. Try your best to write a tweet summarizing the book that you just read. What will you leave out? What will you include? Share your tweets with your friends. Include your tweets on the tweet wall so that others can see it and decide whether or not they want to read that book.
Evaluating - "I felt this book was..."
Track The Action - Stories have high points and they have low points. They have exciting times and they have dull times. They have rises and falls. With track the action, when we read the story, we make a graph that shows how we feel about what is happening in the story. If chapter one is very exciting, we rate it very high. If chapter 2 is not that great, we rate it low. This can be combined with a summary of the chapters as we read.
Write a Review - Writing a review is a lot of fun. We have written tweets to summarize our books, but a Review is a little different. Reviews include our own judgement about how we feel about the book based on what is written. You can write a review on paper, you can use our Reading Tracker, or you could include a review on the website Biblionasium. We can even add your reviews to our recommended book page. You can read reviews from other students online or in the class.
Oral Review - In addition to writing reviews, we can also share them out loud. With a group, select a few titles that you have read and share them with others. Tell them why these are "must read" books, or why they might want to give them a miss. Remember that everyone has a different opinion, so try and base what you say on what is written in the text and your own connections to the writing.
Synthesizing - "This story made me think about..."
Turn on the Lights - Using the sheet provided, jot down or draw anything that gives you an Ah ha! moment while you are reading. In that sense, anything that turns on a light for you in the story - something that you think is important. With each jot note and drawing that you write down, you are helping to piece together the puzzle and change your thinking.
Skimming and Scanning
Picture Flip - Picture Flick is just how it sounds. When we get a picture book, it's quite natural to flip through the pages first to see what pictures are inside. This is similar to our predicting activities. Before you read, take a moment to flip through the book and see what is inside. Take time to think about what the book might be about, or to familiarize yourself with what is inside. If this is a non-fiction text, check the table of contents, the index and the glossary. You may not want to flip through some books though, as this could give away a surprise ending - so, only skim through if you're not worried about knowing an ending.
Graphic Overlay - In many non-fiction texts there are many different parts other than just writing. With a graphic overlay, we make a drawing of different texts that we see to show the different features. A letter will look different, for example, than a narrative. An information report will look different than a procedure. How do they look the same? How do they look different? Label the features and draw what you see on the page.
Sneak Preview - Writing down what we see before we start reading a book and jotting down any questions we have is always a good start. This sneak preview sheet could be used for information reports and other non-fiction texts as well. Instead of looking at the illustrations though, we would look at the diagrams, photos, captions and table of contents. Use the sheet provided to jot down any of your wonderings after your first skim.
Hunt the Text Challenge - When skimming, we are not looking for anything in particular. When scanning however, we are looking for specific information or key words in a text. Hunt the Text is a game, where the teacher will provide you with questions that you need to find the answers to, or key words that you need to locate and define within the text. It's not important to be first, but it is important to use good techniques to find the answers to your questions quickly. What tools do books have that can help you to locate information without having to read through the entire text?
Retrieval Chart - A retrieval chart will allow you to record information about a number of topics so that you can make comparisons. For example, if you want to find out about different animals, you can record the name of the animal, as well as information about their size, habitat and predators or prey. Making a chart makes it easy for you to record that information to compare. You can use the chart provided, or make your own using a ruler.
Interesting Words Chart - As you skim a text, you may find interesting words, or technical vocabulary that you do not understand. Highlight or mark those words with a Post-It Note so that you can come back to them later. After you have marked off a few words, write them down on your interesting word chart. See if you can find out what they mean based on the text (either in the glossary, or using your inferencing ability). If you can't find the meaning, try and use another source, like a dictionary, to figure out their meaning. These words could even be added to your weekly spelling list.
Developing Fluency - When we are reading, we want to be able to read with fluency and expression. That is, we want to be able to read out loud in a way that makes sense based on what is written on the page. The best way for us to get better at reading out loud is to practice. Below are a few ways that we can practice our fluency.
- Echo Reading - When a more experienced reader reads a sentence or two first and we read back trying to use the same expression and pace.
- Assisted Reading - When we are reading with an experienced reader and they help us decode quickly words that we might not know. They can even give us pointers after each paragraph to help correct our fluency.
- Raz Kids Assisted - Raz Kids has a feature that reads out the stories for us. After listening to a small part of a story (a page or two), go back and read the passage out loud. Try to read it as clearly as the Raz Kids reader.
- Buddy Reading - When we get together with our buddies, we can bring what we are reading and listen to them as they read the story. They can also help us with Echo Reading or Assisted Reading if they feel comfortable.
- Be Read To - Listening to an experienced reader while we follow along, can help us to develop our fluency as well. It is important to know that not everyone is a fluent reader, even if they are older than us. Not everyone has the same first language. Some may be better readers in different languages - even you!
Devices Used By Authors - Authors use many different devices that may affect the way we read a story, as well as the meaning within the story. Many we will understand until we become more experienced readers, but while we are reading we may notice some of the devices listed below
Analogy, Euphemism, Exaggeration, Figurative language, Flashback, Foreshadowing, Humour, Overgeneralisation, Oversimplification, Personification, Print size and font selection, Repeating words or phrases, Symbolism, Sarcasm and Satire, Understatement
Story Bytes - On our story bytes page, we have lots of short stories, or parts of stories, where we can practice our reading comprehension strategies. These stories can also be printed out, so that we can practice writing our thoughts and finding ideas and details within the story. Use your cover cards and sentence starters to help you answer the questions for each of the stories linked below.
Raz Kids - In addition to our Story Bytes, we also have a page about our sweet app, Raz Kids. You can use Raz Kids to read stories, have stories read to you and to answer questions related to the books you are reading. It is still important for us to use our reading comprehension strategies when we are reading our Raz Kids books.
Recommended Books - Check out each of our recommended books pages, Recommended Reading, Unit of Inquiry Books, and Subject Specific Books for resources and for clues as to which books may help better with learning different reading strategies.
Text Form Knowledge - We write for different purposes and we read for different purposes. Just like there are pieces of writing that we create that are meant to Entertain, or Inform, there are also texts that have been written by others that do the same. It is important when we are reading that we can determine what the purpose of the text is. We can do this, sometimes, without evening having to read the book. Before you pick up a text, make a prediction about the purpose for the text. As you read, see if you are right.