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Outside of the classroom, one of the most common reasons for looking for informational text is in order to solve a problem. But too often, students find themselves answering text-dependent questions that do little more than test comprehension. What if we began informational reading with student inquiry?
Strategies to Keep Informational Reading Fun
Students in Primary, Elementary, Intermediate and Middle Level grades learn strategies through Literacy Centers, Silent Reading, Fluency Partners, Mini Lessons in Reader’s/Writer’s Workshop, Conferencing and Social Studies as Inquiry to hone their reading/comprehension skills.
WorkStations (Learning Centers) are an easy and effective means to implement comprehension strategies because you can use them for any subject. Using content vocabulary and following explicit directions are examples. Students look forward to small group rotations that have them engaged in activities for individuals and groups that help teach what you want them to learn or review. Whatever your learning goals are, make them a part of WorkStations! In Principles of Instruction by Barak Rosenshine, two principles he highlights are to “require and monitor independent practice (and) engage students in weekly and monthly review.”
Conferencing is one of the most effective ways to not only get to know your kiddos but to hear and see how they’re processing during the reading and writing in any subject. “Although time often prohibits our having an opportunity to conference with students as much as we would like, conferencing provides an opportunity to address specific issues with students regarding their work”, as stated in the article entitled “The Best Instructional Strategies and Resources”, by Heather Mullins. It is also a very powerful way to teach for strategic use of reading behaviors. Students seem to enjoy the one-on- one attention and honing skills with the teacher!
When I’m in a Coaching Cycle and there are three teachers I am involved in Coaching Rounds with, it is so important to really “be present” and “in the moment” at all times. That ebb and flow is a critical piece of the success story in the making for every teacher, and honing in on what each one shows they know, shows they might know and shows they need some direction with, well, that’s Job One for me in determining ebb and flow.