For the first six or so weeks of the school year, we really focus on asking, "What do good readers do?" Last week, we talked about inferring, reading with fluency and asking questions. It's time for us to move into writing about what we read. On Wednesday, we started talking about how good readers ask good questions about the book they're reading.
Right now, we're reading a novel called, There's a Boy in the Girl's Washroom by Louis Sachar. The boys and girls love it! We're just about halfway through the text and there are many questions still unanswered.
On Thursday, I asked the boys and girls to write 1,2,or 3 questions on a Post-it Note. Giving an option to write a number of questions appeals to all learning levels. Kids who have difficulty putting their thoughts onto paper find this task less daunting and those kids who love to write know they have some freedom too. These type of flexible instructions allow students to feel a sense of accomplishment and as these experiences build, so does their writing confidence. Before you know it, everyone is writing up a storm because they know they have the skills to get the job done.
Have a look at the photo of our questions. I know you can't read them here but if you visited our class, you would see how thoughtful and sophisticated their questions are.
On Tuesday, we'll start a reading response booklet I've created based on a very relate-able text called, "Those Shoes". This is an assignment that builds a variety of skills and I'll blog more about it next week.
Writing about one's reading is an excellent way for teachers to assess both writing skills and reading comprehension. And within this type of task, kids still have freedom to add their own creative flair because they're responding to a wide-variety of questions, which are always more fun to read when you can get a sense of the author's voice and personality.