Do you remember teachers reading aloud to you in school? I was blessed with teachers who read aloud in elementary and secondary school.
Why is Genre Knowledge Critical?
Start the year off building the students' knowledge of genre in order to think more critically about every text they encounter this year. Good readers use genre knowledge to get beyond surface-level comprehension. They orient themselves to each text and select comprehension strategies based upon the demands of the text. For example, you would think about character actions in a fiction text and key ideas in an expository text.
Pokemon Go has become a global phenomenon in just a few weeks. I decided to play to learn with the intention of investigating any potential for classroom use. So, I will start with a confession: I'm addicted.
First, I love how the game is making me aware of how I can direct my own learning. I had to seek out the critical knowledge needed to play the game. Quickly, I found and applied the basic rules of the game. At one point, I unexpectedly ran out of Pokeballs and had to figure out how to get more. Of course, I googled it!
Close reading is the act of careful and purposeful reading (and rereading) of a text. We reread texts several times to focus on comprehension, text structure, elements, rhetorical devices, and author's craft. The students' knowledge of genre is crucial for close reading. Texts must be brief because the amount of thinking and reading is heavy and their focus needs to be narrowed.
"Repeated reading improves comprehension." -Doug Fisher
COMPREHENSION! Yes, guided reading is all about practicing comprehension skills and strategies. In guided reading groups, teachers provide students with closely monitored practice as students begin to apply newly learned meta-cognitive strategies. Guided reading is often called "leveled reading" because students should be practicing using a text in which they know at least 90% or more of the words. Because we want to focus on applying critical comprehension skills before, during, and after reading, the text must be one that does not require a lot of attention to figuring out words.
After four to six weeks of school, guided reading really gets going! The purpose of guided reading is to provide closely monitored structured practice of the reading strategies your students need to be successful readers. Guided reading gives teachers opportunities to observe and coach students as they apply strategies and knowledge of author's craft.
As I travel around to different districts and schools, I've noticed a difference in definition when it comes to shared, guided and independent practice. Having common verbiage and practice is crucial to students' success.
Students need to read and write for authentic reasons in order to increase proficiency. The Daily 5 is a framework developed by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser for organizing independent-level activities that students can do for purposeful practice of strategies and skills.
To begin, teachers meet with students and develop anchor charts that explicitly describe what students and teachers are doing in each of the 5 choices areas. Students are guided to make choices for independent work time that will help them achieve learning goals. Students practice one of the 5 choices while the teacher observes and coaches appropriate independent behavior. After 4-5 weeks, teachers begin meeting with guided reading or do 1:1 conferences while the other children are engaged in one of the 5 choices.