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During conferences, I listen to what students are saying but I also listen for what they are NOT saying. For many students, when you ask them to tell you what they have learned from a complex informational text (or a part of a text), they will talk about content they understood without you. Rarely will …Read more

When I lean in for a reading conference with a student (who is reading an informational source), I always start by asking her to tell me a little bit about what she is learning from the source. I say, “Tell me what you learned in this section” or, in the case of narrative nonfiction, “What …Read more

“Why do we have to annotate?”

“Why can’t I just highlight?” Ever heard that from a student? A few weeks ago I had the honor of teaching a class of 5th grade students with the objective of convincing them that annotating is a powerful way to make sense of a source–I did this by helping them realize the value of annotating …Read more

If students are reading multiple sources on a topic, thinking about the purpose of each source can help students remember the content in the source AND notice the similarities and differences between sources. What follows is a sample set of sources (on recycling) for students to explore a set of sources (each with a different …Read more

Recognizing an author’s purpose (or purposes) for writing or creating an informational source can help a student determine what’s important in a source, remember what they read (or heard in a video or saw in a graphic), and begin to think critically about the information in a source. Last week I had the honor of …Read more

Have you ever asked a reader to tell you about what they learned in a short nonfiction book or article and they do one of the following? Give you a few miscellaneous (not related to each other) facts? Talk about the last fact they read? Share facts you discussed during the preview of the source? …Read more

What do you do when emergent-early stage readers can’t decode a word because it’s not in their vocabulary? In a previous entry, I wrote about holding emergent and early stage readers accountable for word-solving (as much as possible) before offering¬† support including telling providing an unfamiliar vocabulary word. For example, one student figured out “off” …Read more

Ever notice a young reader get stuck on decoding a word in a text because the word is not in his or her vocabulary? Or maybe the student has heard the word, but not frequently, and it’s not easily retrievable? This can be a big problem for young readers of nonfiction at the emergent (DRA …Read more

Recently I had the honor of talking with Sara, a teacher in Iowa, whose students have started using inquiry charts. In a nutshell, these charts help students determine what is important and organize their notes as they read-view-listen to multiple sources. (If you’re not familiar with inquiry charts, please check out an article I wrote …Read more

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