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Note: This post was first published in January 2019. I’ve revised and posted again because it’s still so relevant! “Why can’t I just highlight? Why do I have to annotate?” Ever heard that from a student?  I don’t have to convince you of the value of annotating, but we do need to remind (and even …Read more

Co-written with Dr. Julie Webb @LitCentric and originally published at middleweb.com. Is the term “gradual release of responsibility” misleading? Especially when we explain GRR with phrases like “I DO, WE DO, YOU DO”? Terms like these position the teacher as leader of the learning, in control of the learning process. In truth, though, we want …Read more

“It’s about dolphins” is not enough

Thoughtful, text-based predictions can make a big difference in students’ comprehension of complex informational sources. There’s a big difference between these two predictions: 1) It’s going to be about dolphins AND 2) The details in the heading, the intro and the photograph make me think this text going to be about the challenges that bottlenose …Read more

It never fails. With some students, you can have the best time analyzing and talking about an informational source, but when they go to write a short response, they lose their grounding and start to fall. How do we help students bridge the gap between reading and writing? In our practice, making a plan for a written …Read more

Peeking in & conferring with Jamboard

Even when we’re all back in schools, feeling some sense of normalcy, I can’t see letting go of Google’s Jamboard as a tool at the guided reading table. This dynamic tool has become an engaging way for students to analyze important excerpts from informational sources and then plan for and write responses. Just as important, …Read more

Main Ideas: What, Why, How

If your students are still struggling to identify main ideas in informational sources, do they need clarity on what exactly “identify a main idea” means? The chart below has language I use to explain the what, why, and how of identifying main ideas. If you feel like you’ve done this over and over again or …Read more

Would a clearer purpose help?

If your students struggle with determining what’s important or they think “it’s all important!” make sure they have a clear purpose for reading. A purpose stated as a question is even better. Questions like “What is the author’s point of view? What are details in the sources that make me think so?” or “How did …Read more

BUT. DESPITE. WHEREAS. ALTHOUGH. IN CONTRAST. INSTEAD. HOWEVER. YET. WHILE. NEVERTHELESS. NOTWITHSTANDING. Our students may gloss over these words as they read, not realizing how powerful they are. Words like these signal a causal relationship that is in opposition to what a reader might have expected. These words are a BIG DEAL. Technically they’re called …Read more

Recently I watched 60 Seesaw videos of fifth grade students reflecting on a THIEVES lesson. I’d posed these questions for reflection: “Were your predictions on track? How were they helpful (or not) to you as a reader?” What I noticed was that many students commented about whether their predictions were “right” or “wrong.” This made …Read more

Jamboard + Guided Reading with Nonfiction

Here are three examples of how I’m using Google’s Jamboard to support teaching virtually. If you are familiar with my three phase plan for teaching reading at the transitional-fluent stages, you can use Jamboard in all three phases. These tips can be helpful for lessons during other parts of the day as well! Introduce Vocabulary …Read more

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