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Meghan – Determined Reading Specialist in Action, Part 2

Have you ever modeled reading and writing for your students and then when it’s time for them to work independently, they have blank looks on their faces? They are not sure what to do? Meghan, the Reading Specialist whose work I highlighted in my last blog entry, has found a way to “bridge” between modeling and independent work. This looks like “shared writing” or “shared note-taking” with a gradual release of responsibility. When you look at the instructional artifact below, what do you notice?

Shared Note Taking

shared note taking 2

What I noticed is shared engagement in note-taking. Having a conversation with students about a high quality trade book – One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss. Helping the students formulate their thoughts orally through discussion and then taking away some of the cognitive load by doing the writing of notes for them. The teacher’s modeled writing serves to propel the students forward into writing their own notes.


The trick is for students to begin to do this on their own. My experience is they are more likely to do this after the kinds of experiences described above. More on Meghan’s gradual release in the next blog!

FYI – If you have questions about the “frame” Meghan is using for the theme and then the sticky notes in the middle with supporting evidence, see my book Close Reading of Informational Text, Chapter 7 “Determining Importance in a Text.”

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