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Sport Climbing: Three Sources + Cheat Sheet

What kind of sport climbing are you interested in? Speed climbing? Lead climbing? Or bouldering? There are some great sources on this hot topic–I chose a video and two articles that compliment each other (i.e., they have similar main ideas but each contributes interesting supporting details). And of course, there’s a cheat sheet, too. You …Read more

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Padlet with Sets of High Interest Sources

The pandemic provides an excellent opportunity for many of our students to read A LOT nonfiction and to read W I D E L Y on a lot of topics of interest. The benefits are numerous–more background knowledge, better comprehension, bigger vocabulary, and the development of a love for what reading offers. There are even …Read more

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Conferring Tip #1: When readers get stuck on a word, teach for cross-checking.

Our students may need a reminder to use multiple sources of information to figure out a word – meaning cues (context & pic clues), visual cues (the letters in a word), and syntax cues (how the language sounds). They may need to learn to ask questions like: Does that make sense? Does that look right? …Read more

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Less is More – Knowing One Part of a Text Well

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

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When kids ‘mumble read’ a word they don’t know…

A few weeks ago I was in a conference with a student reading a book about the sea lizard. When he came to a word he didn’t know, he mumbled the word and kept going. Do you have students that do this? These students are self-monitoring but they lack fix-up strategies. They know when they …Read more

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Orally rehearsing with key words can boost writing

Do your students struggle to compose sentences about nonfiction topics that make sense or sound right? Do they lack structure at the sentence and paragraph level? Here’s a few tricks I’ve been trying with small groups of late-early and transitional stage readers. As part of a conversation generate key words they will use to orally …Read more

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Discourage students from taking notes like this. Here’s why.

If students are reading multiple texts on a topic and taking notes on each of those sources, I require that (or strongly suggest) they write notes in phrases–just enough words to help them remember what they learned or what the author was saying or the student’s response to information. In most cases, I strongly encourage …Read more

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Explode to Explain

Are your students citing “text evidence” without really having control of the meaning of the quote they choose? Do they state “in the text it says” and then fill in the next blank with a quote they may not really understand? Do they forget to explain further or elaborate? Here’s an idea a group of …Read more

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Do our students notice “definitions” & “examples”?

Do you students notice when authors provide definitions and examples? Many nonfiction authors use these and other types of details when they describe concepts like forces, magnets, weather and so forth. Readers need to recognize these types of details to understand these concepts. I was surprised one day to find out the middle grade students I …Read more

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“I underlined all the words! They’re all important!”

When annotating, do your students underline most of what they’ve read because they think “it’s all important”? Maybe they’ve underlined that much because they don’t know how to determine what is important? Below are a few tips and photos from a demo lesson I gave to tackle this issue. And, yes, I used the pasta …Read more

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