Friday, March 23, 2012

Reading Tracks and a Freebie

It seems like all I post about is literacy, but I promise we do other things in my classroom. I will post some more about math but I just love Daily 5 and teaching kids to read. I really do feel like reading and writing are at the heart of the other subjects and so essential for success! Some of the teachers in my grade level require daily reading response logs. For the struggling writer it detracts from their reading time. I find it hard to remediate for logs and I eventually got away from it. I do guided writing during my reading groups often so I am able to provide writing support. This independent writing time seemed to be just a busy work activity. I felt like I needed something more so I poked around in my literacy lab at school and came across ....

How fortunate I was to have this resource in my district. I have used it some for shared reading but never delved into very deeply. It really helped me boost my independent reading time. Each book takes a strategy you would teach. The author's keep their mini lessons interactive and have kids record ideas on post it notes. I have done this type of thing before but I had never added any sort of codes for organization. That has been the huge difference. The pictures below will explain it better.

Graphics courtesy of DJ Inkers.

Click here to get a copy of the anchor charts and code poster.

I started by making a class anchor chart with one strategy a week. We practiced that strategy whole group and used post it notes - a lot. Now that we are good at it I don't have the class made anchor chart I have replaced it with this smaller version as a simple reminder. I modeled certain reading tracks and we sorted them based on their quality. I saw this idea on Pinterest. My anchor chart is much more plain, but you get the idea. Level one is a poor response and needs a life preserver. Level two is a bit better and begins to dig deeper, thus the anchor. Level 3 is a great reading track and is considered treasure. The kids will often ask if something is a Level 3 reading track. Here is a copy of that anchor chart from Pinterest. It really puts mine to shame.

The students practice the codes during independent reading time. They are shortened, mini responses. They are not required but we do practice them during strategy groups quite often. It helps my readers be intentional about their thinking.
This year I began allowing my readers to lounge and get comfortable. I found these wonderful mats at the Dollar Tree. I'm pretty sure they are floor rugs. They look like mini horse blankets and the kids love them. They are a plus for independent reading.  Some kids take clipboards or just bear down on their book bins.

Here is a visualization.  If a student stops during their reading and says words that go along with visualizations I will say, "Sketch that!" We practiced sketching using a timer so that readers would not become artists. I usually try to limit them to a good minute or minute and a half. They are good now about self monitoring.

Sometimes their visualizations can help them understand tricky parts. This reader was unsure about how exactly a sea horse can be protected since it's so small. A quick sketch led to a conversation which led to understanding. Nothing the V on the bottom of this post it.

We have talked a lot about listening to our inside reader's voice. When I am doing a think aloud or a read aloud and I come across something weird or odd or confusing I will go 'Beep, beep, beep'  like an alarm. The kids will often sit up with looks on their faces like 'Oh yea, this is going to be good.' You can see that this reader started his post it with the words 'Awesome.' This shows he was listening to his reader's voice and the beep beep sound in his own head. I also stress using those emotions and reactions when we read because readers that react to their text are MUCH more likely to remember it. This was a learned fact but you can't see the L because he wrote a lot more on the back.

This one is a bit light but it is a main idea web.  He wrote the book title in the middle of the circle and looked for interesting words on one page. We have practiced deconstructing texts and orally reconstructing them. My students know to write one or two words to jog their memory. This has been a year long skill to practice. There is a W in the bottom of this post it note.

Reading codes work for chapter books, too! This is a connection to a Magic Tree House Research Guided about Husky Dogs. This particular student did a great job because he made a connection and used a support word (because). We work hard on using that support and having a level 3 response.

 This visualization is a funny one to me. He drew a picture of a snake and wrote the words weird. He should have included what made it weird, but he did verbalize it to me. His book was about green anacondas which are brown and black. He thought it strange that they are called the green anaconda when they are not green.

The kids are always very proud of their post it notes. I try to let them share them at least once a week or after a strategy group. I find it's hard to always get to them so we hang them on our Show it Off wall. You can read about that here.

Since I didn't like the traditional read and respond format this has been a good fit for me. I'd love to know what you do. How do you get kids writing but keep them reading?


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