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Literacy Toolbox

Teaching literacy in your

discipline IS teaching your discipline‌ -Strategic Literacy Initiative

ELA Instructional Framework Activate – Strategies

Organize – Strategies

that access students’ prior knowledge and provides necessary background to be able to make connections with the text, self, and the world

that enable students to break down the text into manageable chunks and read for a purpose based on the structure of the text

Activate Prior Knowledge

Organize Information

Strategic Readers Summarize and Apply – Strategies that enable students to extend, deepen, and apply information learned in multiple contexts

Comprehend –

Summarize and Apply

Comprehend Text

Strategies that provide students with the tools necessary to obtain meaning and understanding of the text (Reading to Learn)

Secondary ELA / Literacy Department, 2009-2010 Adapted from North Carolina Teacher Academy

Literacy Toolbox Strategy Give One Get One Quick Write / Looping Final Word Appointment Clock List Group Label Think Pair Share Reading Process Analysis Tea Party Story Impressions Reading Graphic Aids Reading Illustrations Word Splash Reading Between the Lines Partner Reading Collaborative Annotation Visual Imaging I Saw I Thought

Activate X X X X X X X X X X X X X

Organize X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X

Comprehend X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X

Summarize and Apply X X X





1 1 12 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2

Literacy Toolbox Strategy It Says, I Say, and So Informational Text Features Tree Summaries 3*2*1 Big Fox RIVET Breaking Down the Test TP-CASTT SOAPSTone Text Reformulation Dump and Clump




Organize X X X

Comprehend X X X

Summarize and Apply X






Give-One-Get-One 1. 2. 3. 4.

Give One Get One can be used to activate student’s prior knowledge before introducing a new text, concept, or topic in the boxes. (words or phrases) Then, share one idea with a person and get a new idea to add to your graphic organizer. Repeat until all boxes are filled in. Note: You can only receive and give one new idea per person. Give One Get One can also be used to organize and comprehend texts using teacher prepared guiding questions in each box.

Pa 2 26 29 3

33 3 3 39 42 44 46

Quick Writes Before, During, and After Reading by Linda Rief (100 Quick Writes: Fast and Effective Writing Exercises) “Quick Writes mean showing and reading to students a short piece of text from which they write all that the text brings to mind; they borrow a line from which they write, letting the line lead their thinking. This first draft writing lasts only 2-3 minutes.�

“The simple rhythm of copying someone else’s words gets us into the rhythm of writing, and then you begin to feel your own words.” By William Forrester, Finding Forrester

Individually Quick Write to a chosen quote using one of the sentence starters below…. •

Continue writing and expanding the quote as if you are the author.

Borrow any line or word and write as quickly as you can all that the line or word brings to mind.

Free write whatever this quote means to you.

“Looping” helps students: •

Develop details / support and elaboration

Articulate ideas and deepen understanding of text or central idea

Determine focus for further inquiry

Then… •

Choose 1 topic or issue from your quick write and write why it is most important.

Then… •

Underline key word or sentence and continue writing

The Final Word Purpose •

To provide a structure for group discussions based on reading a selection

To provide a framework for groups to explore a selection, clarify thinking, ask questions

Roles •

Facilitator/timekeeper o

Keeps time

o •

Reminds participants of ground rules


Process •

Participants read a selection and highlight or underline 2 or 3 significant sentences or phrases.

Participants should be able to describe why that quote struck him or her; For example, why does s//he agree/disagree with the quote, what questions does s/he have about that quote, what issue does it raise for him or her, what does s/he now wonder about in relation to that quote, etc.

Participants form groups of 3 or 4.

Presenter reads and discusses the quote IN LESS THAN 3 MINUTES.

Each person in the group responds quote IN LESS THAN 1 MINUTE.

Presenter has the final word IN LESS THAN 1 MINUTE.

The participants listen to the speaker without comment until it is their turn.

Groups of 3 will take 24 MINUTES

Groups of 4 will take 32 MINUTES

Repeat the process so that each participant has a chance to be the presenter.

Variations •

Teacher could choose what types of quotes they wanted highlighted o

A quote that the student has a question about


A quote that the student can clarify


A quote that the student wants to make a prediction about


A quote that forms a vivid image in the student’s mind


A quote that the student can make a connection with


A quote that summarizes a point for the students


A metaphor and what it means to the student

Final Word Guidelines  Read the selection  Choose a quote that is important to you  Presenter reads his/her quote and discusses it in 3 minutes  Participants respond in 1 minute  Presenter has Final Word for 1 minute  Listen carefully without comment while participants are speaking.

National School Reform Faculty Harmony Education Center, Bloomington Indiana This version of The Final Word was adapted from the original by Jennifer Fischer-Mueller and Gene Thompson-Grove for NSRF, November 2000

Appointment Clock 12




List-Group-Label Activating Strategy (Card sort) List-group-label is an activity that combines brainstorming and categorization as a way to help students organize concepts. Although it works best when students have some background knowledge related to the concepts, the activity can be used to introduce or review concepts. Instructional Procedure

1. Select a vocabulary term, main topic, or overarching concept in a reading selection. 2. Have students list all words they think relate to this concept. Write student responses on the overhead. Note: Since the concept is presented without a specific context, some of the student suggestions will not reflect the meaning of the concept in the reading selection. 3. Divide the class into groups of 3 or 4 students. Have these teams join together related terms from the larger list. Have the teams provide "evidence" for this grouping—that is, require the students to articulate the common features or properties of the words collected in a group. 4. Ask the student groups to suggest a descriptive title or label for the collections of related terms. These labels should reflect the rationale behind collecting the terms in a group.

5. Finally, have students read the text selection carefully and then review both the general list of terms and their collections of related terms. Students should eliminate terms or groups that do not match the concept's meaning in the context of the selection. New terms from the reading should be added, when appropriate. Terms should be "sharpened" and the groupings and their labels revised, when necessary. 6. This activity can be extended by adding a writing exercise in which students summarize what they have learned about the topic. List Group Label was introduced by Hilda Taba in her book, Teachers’ Handbook to Elementary Social Studies (1967)


This strategy provides students with an opportunity to take time to reflect and think. Students who generally need more time to process are given the chance to articulate their thoughts in writing and be ready to reply, as well as to have questions answered, if necessary. It can be used quickly for small topics (15-30 seconds per step), or longer for larger topics or questions. The use of this strategy DELIBERATELY increases level of student engagement, higher order thinking, and classroom participation. THINK – The teacher asks a question or presents a problem and each student thinks silently and individually about how he/she would answer/solve it. Student writes an individual reflection. PAIR – The student pairs up with a classmate sitting adjacent to him/her, and the two students compare notes, discuss, ask questions, share ideas, and synthesize thoughts. SHARE – The teacher asks for whole group responses.

OPTIONAL – Conclude class with a written reflection based on student’s initial understanding and new generated thoughts or deeper understanding after participating in the pair and whole group discussion. (summary) You can use the following metacognitive sentence stems to guide student reflection: •

I figured out that…

I first thought ___________ but then I realized…

I had trouble with this topic / paragraph / chapter because…

My discussion made me think of _________ because…

Based on what I discussed today, I predict ____________ because…

I have a question about __________________

STUDENT ACCOUNTABILITY / INFORMAL ASSESSMENT: Collect student written responses (exit or entry slips) to check for understanding Adapted from Lyman, 1981

Reading Process Analysis Essential Questions: What do proficient readers do when they read? What strategies do they use to gain understanding of the text?

Reading Process Analysis helps readers become aware of the demands of different text structures and the strategies proficient readers use to make meaning of texts. By sharing reflections on reading processes in a group, readers learn from each other’s processes and acquire new strategies. They also begin to see reading as a complex activity that requires flexible application of many strategies. This is often an important new awareness for many readers. This is a process that needs repetition, especially as readers encounter different types of text. Materials: •

Various nonfiction texts, photocopied. The first texts should be moderately challenging without being difficult. As the class gains experience with Reading Process Analysis, use gradually more challenging texts.

Pens or pencils with which students may write on the text.

White board or laptop and LCD projector with the title, "Good Readers’ Strategies", written.

Process: 1. Before reading, ask students what good readers do when they read nonfiction texts. Other prompts might be: "How can you tell when someone is a good reader? What do you think teachers look for when they are trying to understand how well someone reads?" 2. Record all of the answers on the board titled "Good Readers’ Strategies." The idea here is to construct a sense of what the students’ beliefs, or theories, of reading are. Receive all answers, whether they support your notion of reading or not. Later conversations will revise and elaborate this initial list. 3. Assign a piece of text to be read. Ask students to read as they normally would and that there will be a discussion of how they read afterwards.

4. Following the reading, ask students to write briefly to prompts such as: What did you notice? What was hard? What did you do to make sense of the text as you read? 5. Ask students to share out. It is important to validate the many different kinds of thinking that lead to the successful completion of the task. 6. Record students’ observations on the board as they share out. Be sure to validate comments and point out things that are strong comprehension strategies. As you record, label students’ strategies so that your class will begin to build a common vocabulary about reading process. 7. As students share their strategies, revisit the initial items on the list and ask if there is anything they might add or revise based on this reading experience. For example, a common comment on many initial lists is, "Good readers read fast." If students share out that they had to slow down because the text was confusing, the revised list might read, "Good readers sometimes read fast, but they know to slow down when they need to." Scaffolding: • •

Read the same text that you assign to your students, and do the reflective writing. Begin by sharing one or two of the strategies you used while reading the text. Prompt students gently with questions such as: "Did anyone notice that they had to re-read any part?" or "Did anyone think of something else that they knew about that was kind of related?" If this still does not yield much conversation, you may want to model thinking aloud to give them a view of some strategies that they may recognize. Try making a "Good Readers Solve Problems With…" list to acknowledge that as readers, we all commonly face many of the same comprehension challenges. From here, you can prompt strategies by asking things like, "Did anyone else have trouble with this part? How did you get through it?" These strategies can be written on the "problem solving" list next to the difficulty, and then written separately on a Good Readers’ Strategies list.

For example: A student says that he did not know a particular word. Write "vocabulary" on the "problem solving" list. Ask the class if anyone else had trouble with that word. You can also ask a more general question like, "What kinds of things do people do when they come to new words?" Help generate a list of strategies for dealing with this problem: • • • • • •

read ahead read the sentence before the word substitute a word you know that sounds right and makes sense look for parts of the word (roots) that are used in other words that you know write it down and go on look it up or ask someone…

Soon, even students who do not see themselves as readers begin to see that the problems they face are common to all readers, and that they, too, read strategically and are in fact good readers. As students use Think-Aloud and Talking to the Text, they will become more able to observe and share their strategies. Return to this Reading Process Analysis activity intermittently throughout the year. Remember to add to and revise the Good Reader’s Strategy List each time you do! The list should become a living document that is continually added to, revised, and referred to by students when reading difficult texts. Good Readers’ Strategies • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Read fast (change the speed of their reading depending on how difficult the text is) Re-read Ask questions Have a reason to read (set a purpose) Think about what they know already that’s related (Use background knowledge) For example, about topic, genre, era, author… Say, "this reminds me of my…" (Make personal connections) Try to picture what the author is saying (visualize) Read ahead Re-read the previous sentence Write it down Substitute a word you know that sounds right and makes sense Disagreeing with the author Knowing why to read something, or caring about something (Setting a purpose) WestEd, Strategic Literacy Initiative

Tea Party Purpose: 

Tea Party offers students a chance to consider parts of the text before they ever actually read it. It encourages active participation with the text and gives students a chance to get up and move around the classroom. This pre-reading strategy allows students to predict what they think will happen in the text as they make inferences, see causal relationships, compare and contrast, practice sequencing, and draw on their background knowledge.

Materials: 

Text selection could be a section of a textbook, chapter of a novel, or an article

A set of half as many phrase cards as number of students - two students will

have the same phrase

Steps: 

On cards, write phrases, parts of sentences or single words from the text that give insight into important points. Choose phrases that could be interpreted in multiple ways.

Don’t paraphrase the text. You can omit words to shorten, but don’t change any words.

Pass out cards to students and have them mingle around the room sharing their cards with others. This could be done to music – move when the music is playing, stop at a new partner to share when the music stops.

Have students read cards to each other and begin discussing what the text might be about.

Next, instruct students to return to small groups (4 – 5) to discuss what they presume the text is about.

Ask groups to record their predictions by writing a paragraph that begins: “We think that this selection is about…”

Share statements to whole group explaining how they reached their predictions.

Now, have students read the selection.

After reading, have students discuss with small group whether their predictions and inferences were correct, and how and why they would revise them.

Debrief: 

What is your understanding of the text?

How close were your predictions? How did you revise them?

What was it like to read a piece of text after making predictions like this?

Did you find yourself more engage in the reading?

Was your understanding deepened by working with your small group? Adapted from When Kids Can’t Read, What Teachers Can Do Kylene Beers, 2003.

Story Impressions Writing before, during, and after reading proves to enrich a student’s comprehension of content in any given text. Documented research shows that reading and writing should become a joint process, actively engaging the students with the materials read. Students will retain more long-term knowledge and information when writing precedes and follows any reading activity. Writing also provides students with an opportunity to formulate and organize ideas prior to discussion. This, in turn, enables more students to become actively engaged in classroom discussion and activities relating to the text. Guidelines for Implementing Story Impressions 

Choose 8-10 words in a text prior to reading.

List words on the board in order as they appear in the text.

In journals, ask students to use all the words in a short story in the order they appear on the board.

Ask students to share stories with the whole class. (volunteers)

Tell students to pay close attention to the similarities and differences with their stories in relation to the text provided.

Read text silently.

Ask students to “think silently” as they read, making comparisons with the reading and their stories.

Engage students in a whole class discussion identifying similarities and differences with student written stories.

Individually, ask students to write a new summary, using the same list of words, sequencing the events described in the text.

Ask for student volunteers to read the revised summaries aloud.

Adapted from the work of McGinley & Denner, 1987

Reading Graphic and Organizational Aids Graphic and organizational aids help the reader to identify important information, organize key concepts, and navigate through content area texts.

Identify graphic and organizational aids in the text and list below. ___________________________________________

What details are present in the graphic and organizational aids? _____________________________________________











How do the details in the graphic and organizational aids help you to understand the meaning of the text? ___________________________________________

Combine the details from the graphic and organizational aids and make a prediction of the main idea of the text?

___________________________________________ ___________________________________________ ___________________________________________ ___________________________________________ ___________________________________________

_____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________

Reading Illustrations Illustrations help the reader visualize what the author is trying to convey. Pictures can tell a story. They can show us more about the world we live in, make us feel happy or sad, motivate us to take action, explain the written text, and encourage us to look at the world in a new way.

List the details that you see in the photo. Think about the photo’s colors, shapes, and objects.

Describe what is happening in the photo. _____________________________________________

___________________________________________ ___________________________________________ ___________________________________________ ___________________________________________ ___________________________________________

_____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________


Describe how the photo makes you feel. Identify specific details in the photo that arouses your feelings. ___________________________________________

Why does this photo inspire you? What inferences can be made based on the details in the photo and the personal connections you made with the photo? _____________________________________________











Create a title and write a caption for the visual image.

Word Splash

1. Choose a theme or key concept and surround the word with key words that relate to the topic prior to introducing a new text. 2. Project words or put on overhead. 3. Tell students they are to make predictions as to how the terms are related to the topic in the center box. 4. Have students write sentences using the terms. They may combine words. 5. Conduct whole group discussion sharing prediction statements. Type students’ statements or write on overhead.

SAMPLE instructions




Reading a Recipe kids



bon appĂŠtit

“Reading Between the Lines” Readers who successfully “read between the lines” are like detectives on CSI. Detectives solve crimes by analyzing, breaking down, and putting together evidence at a crime scene, and good readers “dig deeper” into the text and are able to pick up clues that the author leaves behind in the text. Good readers read more than the words on the page, and interact with the text during reading.

Good readers do the following as they read: 

Make predictions

Ask questions

Stop and summarize chunks of text

Clarify things that are confusing

Make comments

Make connections

Relate events in book to own life

If the reader can’t do one of the following things, then the reader needs to reread.

Yes, “read between the lines” while reading using the following directions below. Write on the reading selections to document your notes. 

Choose an EOC reading selection, newspaper article, magazine article, manual, novel, song lyrics etc.

Look at pictures and/or story titles and write a prediction stating what the story might be about. Write it down.

Read newspaper headings located in the newspaper or text and determine the author’s purpose and/or main idea. Write it down.

Underline or highlight the main idea(s) in each paragraph and write a summary in your own words. Write it down.

Ask the story a question(s). Write down your questions.

Circle any words or phrases you do not understand. Reread the sentence, as well as, the sentence before and after, looking for clues to clarify meaning. Rewrite it in your own words.

Make a picture in your mind about what you are reading and write a description or draw it.

Make personal connections with the text. Ex. What do you already know about the topic? Is there anything in the text that reminds you of something in your life? Have you or someone you know had a similar

Experience? Write it down.

Write a short summary describing what you think the reading is mainly about. Write it down.

NOTE: If you use highlighters, you must write something explaining why words were highlighted.

“Partner Reading” Make a Prediction

With a partner, read the selections provided by your teacher. When you read, use the following sentence starters below to prompt discussion with your partner. Take turns reading aloud and stop reading after each paragraph or stanza to discuss what the text is saying and “read between the lines” to increase level of comprehension of the text.

Make a Prediction

Ask a Question

Make a Connection

I predict that…

Why did…

This reminds me of…

I think that…

What is this part about?

This part is like…

Since this happened..., then I bet the next thing

What would happen if…

This character (fill in name)

that is going to happen is…

Who is…

is like (fill in name)

Reading this part makes me think that ___ is



about to happen…

What does this section mean…

I wonder if…..

 

Clarify / Summarize 

Oh, I get it…

Now I understand…

This makes sense now…

No, I think it means…

I agree with you, this means…

At first I thought (fill in detail), but now I think…

  

This is similar to…

Make a Connection  The differences are… Do you think that… This reminds me of…  This also happened to me… I don’t get this part...

Make a Comment 

This part is like…  This setting reminds me of… is like (fill in name) This character (fill in name)

because… This is good / bad / hard part This is similar to… because… The differences are… This is confusing because… This also happened to me… I like the part where… This setting reminds me of… I don’t like this part of the book because…

My favorite part is…

I think that…

Forming Mental Pictures 

Even though it isn’t in the picture, I can see……

I can almost taste the……

I could hear the ……..

I can imagine what it is like to …….

The character / setting looks like…..

I can picture the ………….

It sends chills down my spine when………..

For a minute, I thought I could smell….

“Collaborative Annotation” In groups of 3, students individually annotate on a sample EOC Reading selection utilizing the sentence starters on the previous page. Students pass their annotated copy to the person on the right. Each individual focuses on, and makes additions to, the original reader’s commentary; the next time the papers pass, each individual adds his/her commentary to both of the previous readers’ commentary. This process continues until the original reader has his/her paper back. Groups will individually review and engage in group discussion. NOTE: this strategy can be utilized with all genres represented on the Reading EOC. (Expressive, informational, argumentative, critical, poetry)

Steps to Visual Imaging

 Select a passage to read aloud that contains a great deal of description using the five senses.  Make an overhead transparency and/or provide a copy for all students.  Model the procedure for students. Focus on why forming mental images help readers understand text and how the reader uses descriptive works and prior knowledge to formulate ideas.  Guided Practice – Read a section of text to your students, pause to talk about the mental images you have, and ask for additional images from your students with the same text.  Ask students periodically, “What in the text, combined with your own experiences, caused you to form your images?”  Pair students together to practice visual imaging. Remind students to pause and visualize out loud at least every two to three sentences.  Independent Practice – Students can begin to visualize with texts used in silent sustained reading and write down visual images formed in journals.

Double Entry Journal WestEd, Strategic Literacy Initiative

I Saw

I Thought

(Evidence: I saw / I heard / read in the text…)

(Interpretation: I wondered/ I made a connection/ I thought…)

It Says, I Say, and So allows students to visualize the steps in making an inference when answering questions. First, students have to find out what the reading says. Then they add, in their own words, their thoughts about what the reading says. Finally, students combine what the reading says and their thoughts to answer the question, thus creating new meaning—the inference. Adapted from Kylene Beers, When Kids Can’t Read Question (Read the Question)

It Says (Find information from the text that will help you answer the question.)

I Say (Think about what you know about that information.)

And So (Combine what the text says with what you know to come up with the answer.)

Informational Text Features Informational text features help the reader more easily navigate the text and often provide additional information to help students comprehend the content.

Make copies of nonfiction texts, or project on overhead utilizing your LCD projector to model how to analyze informational texts. What information can the reader extract from illustrations, print features, organizational features, and graphic aids? Utilize the Think Aloud Strategy to model for students. Then, have students work in pairs to fill out the graphic organizer, Text Feature Scavenger Hunt, utilizing the texts below. (Refer to sample texts below)

Text Feature Scavenger Hunt DIRECTIONS: Your job is to investigate text features and try to find examples of as many different features as you can.

Text Feature


It Helped Me Understand‌

Created by Laurie Larsen and Butterfield Canyon (Go to, type in text features, and you will find interactive power points)

Tree Summaries Tree summaries are a graphic organizer that provides a pictorial representation of the main ideas and supporting details of a text. Step 1 – Choose a sample reading selection, science, or social studies text Step 2 – Think Pair Share This strategy provides students with an opportunity to take time to reflect and think. Students who generally need more time to process are given the chance to articulate their thoughts in writing and be ready to reply, as well as to have questions answered, if necessary. It can be used quickly for small topics (15-30 seconds per step), or longer for larger topics or questions. The use of this strategy DELIBERATELY increases the level of individual student engagement, higher order thinking, and whole group participation. THINK – Each student reads the text individually (sample reading EOG selection, news article, excerpt from textbook, etc.) Students individually either write directly on the text or use sticky notes to “talk to the text” (i.e. predict, visualize, ask questions, make connections, clarify…) PAIR – The student pairs up with a classmate sitting adjacent to him/her, and the two students compare notes, discuss, ask questions, share ideas, and synthesize thoughts. In pairs, students design a summarizing graphic organizer in the shape of a tree. (Students enjoy drawing their own trees)  Roots – at least 4 – each root representing students prior knowledge of topic  Trunk – title of reading selection  Branches – 4 to 6 – one for each main concept in the text (i.e. choose the main idea from each paragraph(s) in the reading selection)  Leaves – the details of each concept  Top of the Tree (or Canopy) – an “Ah-hah” or a new understanding about the topic (overarching idea)

SHARE – The teacher asks for whole group responses. Students share tree summaries with the rest of the class, including each small group’s “ah-hah” or new understanding of the text (display tree summaries in classroom)

Tree Summaries Tree summaries are a graphic organizer that provides a pictorial representation of the main ideas and supporting details of a text. Step 3 – Answer the questions at the end of the reading selection utilizing the “It Says, I Say, and So” graphic organizer. Question (Read the Question)






It Says (Find information from the text that will help you answer the question.)

I Say (Think about what you know about that information.)

And So (Combine what the text says with what you know to come up with the answer.)


Tree Summary

AH HA’s – Overaching Idea, Theme, or New Understanding

Leaves - Details

Leaves - Details

Branches – Main Idea

Trunk - Title

Roots – Prior Knowledge


List 3 new facts you learned. 1. 2. 3.

Write 2 ways you learned best how to comprehend the article and vocabulary. 1. 2.

Write 1 item you would like to explore further. 1.

BIG FOX (Bold, Italics, Graphics) (Facts, Opinions, X Marks the Spot) Concept: Strategies that increase comprehension of nonfiction texts Estimated Duration: 50 minutes Objectives Students will be able to: •

identify features of a nonfiction article

apply comprehension strategies

analyze an author’s key points in an article

analyze information in graphics

define unknown words

Materials 

BIG FOX graphic organizer

Copies of two nonfiction articles that include text features shown in BIG FOX


Differentiated Strategies These strategies are used to meet the varied needs of all learners: 

Varying academic levels: uses mixed-ability groups to allow students to learn from one another

Visual learners: incorporates graphic organizers to teach students pre-reading strategies for increased comprehension

Auditory learners: encourages partner talk to define unknown words

Kinesthetic learners: incorporates the use of highlighting to assist students in comprehension

Key Vocabulary 



Procedures Warm Up 

Distribute copies of a nonfiction article.

Ask students to peruse all the pages of the article. Ask them to raise their hands and explain what types of items they see, in addition to paragraphs.

Write students’ responses on the board.

Direct Instruction Using the same article, place the Big Fox graphic organizer transparency on the overhead. Model how to complete this organizer. Practice 

Distribute a copy of a new nonfiction article and a copy of the Big Fox graphic organizer to each student. Ask students to complete the graphic organizer individually.

Once students have completed the chart on the graphic organizer, give them a highlighter to use while they read the article.

Ask students to highlight any unknown words or phrases.

Place students in groups of three to four mixed-ability students. Have students share their list of highlighted words with each other. If any student in the group does not have a word highlighted that the others do, that student provides the definition for the others to write down in the margin of their papers.

Assessment 

Using a large-group discussion format, ask each group which words all group members have highlighted. Write these words on the board. If no other group is able to provide a definition, the teacher provides the definition and writes it on the board. Students copy the definition on their papers.

Once all unknown words have been defined, students silently re-read the article and write a one-paragraph summary in order to demonstrate comprehension.

Closure 

Explain to students that reading is like exercising. It is very hard on your body to begin a difficult work-out without first warming-up your muscles. Likewise, reading is more difficult if you don’t warm-up your brain with pre-reading. Use the Big Fox technique to warm-up your brain.

Copyright © The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc

BIG FOX Graphic Organizer


Bold – List any words or phrases that are in bold print.

Italics – List any words or phrases that are in italics.


Graphics – Describe any graphics. (photos, drawings, graphs, charts, maps, tables, etc.)


Facts – List at least 5 facts found in the article.


Opinions – List any opinions found in the article.


X marks the spot – or at least the main point. In 2-3 sentences, write the main point of the article. (Hint – read the topic sentence of each paragraph.)

Rivet! - Rivet is a pre-reading activity. Its purpose is to expose students to unfamiliar vocabulary terms that might affect reading fluency and thus inhibit comprehension when reading the text. It can be used across all disciplines. Students typically love this activity ! Steps:

The teacher will choose approximately 6 - 8 difficult vocabulary words or important names from the text that may inhibit students from comprehending the text when students read.

The teacher puts blanks on board representing the number of letters in the vocabulary word.

Teacher fills in one letter at a time for students to guess the word from left to right. Teacher encourages students to guess the word

Students shout out possible words

When a student guesses the word, finish writing it. (ask students to try to finish spelling it for you)

Collaboratively talk about its meaning once word is discovered

Repeat process until all words are identified

Then, give students the title of the story or chapter being introduced

In journals, ask students to write a summary predicting what the text will be about using 6 or more of the vocabulary words

Read predictions aloud

List predictions on chart paper

Read text

Verify and refute initial predictions as students progress through story or chapter

NOTE: Unlike Hangman, students are NOT guessing the letters. Their eyes are “riveted” to the board as you write the letters, and they are trying to guess the word based on the letters you have written and the number of remaining blanks.

Guided Reading the Four Blocks Way, Patricia and Jim Cunningham, Dorothy Hall

“Breaking Down the Test” The main focus of before, during, and after reading activities is to teach the students to use the strategies that proficient readers use when they read. The emphasis should be on the HOW of reading. Use this questioning framework with sample EOC or EOG reading selections. Questions to ask when discussing selections  What is confusing to you?  Can anyone help make this clearer?  Tell me what you do know.  Where in the text did you find information to support that idea? That answer?  Why is that answer right (wrong)? Before reading Teach the students to focus their attention on the specific selection through pre-reading strategies:  Predictions based on text features, title, heading, words in italics, pictures, etc.  Brainstorm what is already known  Share ideas with others Vocabulary  When students don’t know a word, help them to try to figure it out using the context.  Model how you would think if you were trying to figure out a word. (Think Alouds)  Model how you would read if you couldn’t figure out the word (Remember, dictionaries are not available on tests.)  Have the students use & talk about words, but don’t spend time having the students write definitions.  Focus on the more common vocabulary words, those likely to be seen on EOG / EOC. During reading:  Since the students will have to read EOC’s silently, have them practice reading silently.  Have the students practice annotation skills since they will be able to write on the EOC.  Require 1 – 2 comments per paragraph  Scaffold instruction by walking them through this routine paragraph by paragraph at first.  Have the students identify what they find confusing about the text.  Elicit clarity from other students.  Many, if not most, inexperienced readers don’t recognize when the text is confusing to them.  A first step in becoming better readers is learning to know what you don’t know.  Then, increase to two paragraphs at a time, then three, etc.  As you talk about the selection with the students, have them find supporting evidence in the text. After reading:  Scaffold support by first working with the students to discuss questions based on the reading selection.  Have students answer questions on their own in later selections.  Always require students to find (show you, read) supporting evidence in the text.  Always have the students tell you why the answer is correct.  Always have the students tell you why the other answers are incorrect.

“Poetry Analysis – TP-CASTT”




Before you even think about reading the poetry or trying to analyze it, speculate on what you think the poem might be about based upon the title. Often time authors conceal meaning in the title and give clues in the title. Jot down what you think this poem will be about


Before you begin thinking about meaning or tying to analyze the poem, don't overlook the literal meaning of the poem. One of the biggest problems that students often make in poetry analysis is jumping to conclusions before understanding what is taking place in the poem. When you paraphrase a poem, write in your own words exactly what happens in the poem. Look at the number of sentences in the poem—your paraphrase should have exactly the same number. This technique is especially helpful for poems written in the 17th and 19th centuries. Sometimes your teacher may allow you to summarize what happens in the poem. Make sure that you understand the difference between a paraphrase and a summary.


Although this term usually refers solely to the emotional overtones of word choice, for this approach the term refers to any and all poetic devices, focusing on how such devices contribute to the meaning, the effect, or both of a poem. You may consider imagery, figures of speech (simile, metaphor, personification, symbolism, etc), diction, point of view, and sound devices (alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhythm, and rhyme). It is not necessary that you identify all the poetic devices within the poem. The ones you do identify should be seen as a way of supporting the conclusions you are going to draw about the poem.



Having examined the poem's devices and clues closely, you are now ready to explore the multiple attitudes that may be present in the poem. Examination of diction, images, and details suggests the speaker's attitude and contributes to understanding. You may refer to the list of words on Tone that will help you. Remember that usually the tone or attitude cannot be named with a single word Think complexity.



Rarely does a poem begin and end the poetic experience in the same place. As is true of most us, the poet's understanding of an experience is a gradual realization, and the poem is a reflection of that understanding or insight. Watch for the following keys to shifts: • key words, (but, yet, however, although) • punctuation (dashes, periods, colons, ellipsis) • stanza divisions • changes in line or stanza length or both • irony • changes in sound that may indicate changes in meaning • changes in diction



Now look at the title again, but this time on an interpretive level. What new insight does the title provide in understanding the poem?



What is the poem saying about the human experience, motivation, or condition? What subject or subjects does the poem address? What do you learn about those subjects? What idea does the poet want you take away with you concerning these subjects? Remember that the theme of any work of literature is stated in a complete sentence.

“Poetry Analysis – TP-CASTT” TP-CAST is a highly effective analysis method currently utilized in AP English classes. It requires the reader to make predictions, identify elements of figurative language, identify tone or mood, author’s attitude, theme, main idea, transitional words and phrases to clarify shifts in tone and setting, and development of inferences.

TITLE - What T


predictions can you make from the title? What are your initial thoughts about the poem? What might be the theme of the poem?

PARAPHRASESummarize the poem in your own words.




What is the connotative meaning of the poem? Find examples of imagery, metaphors, similes, etc. and elaborate on their connotative meanings. ATTITUDE - What attitude does the poet have toward the subject of the poem? Find and list examples that illustrate the tone and mood of the poem.

SHIFTS - Is there a S

shift in the tone/attitude of the poem? Where is the shift? What does the tone shift to?

TITLE - Revisit the T

title and explain any new insights it provides to the meaning of the poem.

THEME - What is T

the overall theme of the poem?

SOAPSTone Method 1. Who is the SPEAKER? (What can you say about the speaker based on references to the text?) 2. What is the OCCASION of the piece? (Consider the issues or ideas that prompted the speaker to write about this subject.) 3. Who is the AUDIENCE? (Be specific in describing some of its characteristics.) 4. What is the PURPOSE? (Consider the message and how the writer wants the audience to respond.) 5. What is the SUBJECT? (State in a few words or a short phrase.) 6. What is the TONE? (Choose a tone that fits the piece as a whole. Remember that tone correlates with attitude. Jot down specific words or phrases from the text that support that tone.)

Adapted from College Board, AP Central

Text Reformulation

This strategy allows students to read a passage, and then put the expository passage into the framework of a narrative example. As students work through their reformulations, they return to the text, reread portions, argue over meanings, question whether something was important or not, and listen to each other’s interpretations. Text reformulation encourages dependent readers to think critically about the text without overwhelming them. Text Reformulation has also been called Story Recycling. It’s a strategy in which students transform one text into another type of text. Students can turn expository texts into narratives, poems into newspaper articles, or short stories into patterned stories such as ABC books. Reformulating the text encourages students to talk about the original texts. This activity helps students identify the main ideas, cause and effect relationships, themes, and main characters. Students examine the text in order to sequence, generalize, summarize, and make inferences. Text reformulation is a great way to assess student comprehension. Reformulating expository text to narrative text is one of the best ways to use this strategy. In history class, have small groups take a particular event or time period for reformulation. Putting dense material into children’s book format will only cement the knowledge that students have gained in your class. Students understand technical text better when they can translate it into a story. STEPS: 1. First, introduce the students to the types of texts they can use as patterns when the reformulate a text—If-Then stories, ABC books, cumulative tale structures, repetitive book structures, etc. 2. Model several types of reformulation. Students might try the following reformulations: 

All kinds of texts into patterned texts, comic books, letters, or interviews

Poems into stories or letters

Stories into plays, radio announcements, newspaper ads, or television commercials

Textbooks into narrative texts

Diaries or memoirs into plays, newspaper articles, or news magazine scripts

3. Decide whether you or the students will choose the type of reformulation. 4. Provide opportunities for practice and evaluation. Adapted from When Kids Can’t Read: What Teachers Can Do, by Kylene Beers

Dump and Clump

Purpose: This strategy is used to provide a step by step process for organizing thinking and facilitating learning of new and difficult material. Description: This is a great strategy to use when the students are faced with learning new and difficult information. It provides students with a process for organizing their new concepts and information. Depending on the subject matter, this strategy could utilize up to a full class period. Procedure: 1. Group students into small groups of 2-3. 2. “Dump” – Have students create a list of words, items, or new information related to the topic of study. Or, provide students with a list of words related to the topic of study. 3. “Clump” – Using the “dump” word list, students should categorize (clump) and label words from the list. 4. Have students write a descriptive summary sentence for each category of words. 5. Upon completion, these should be posted around the room or shared in small groups. Rogers, S., Ludington, J., & Graham, S. (1999)

Dump and Clump Directions: Brainstorm words related to your topic. Place these words in the "Dump"ster. Then, pull your words out of the dumpster and clump them into categories.

Finally, assign your category labels and write a summary sentence (on the back) describing each category.

The Dumpster

The Clumpster

Instructional Strategies for Engaging Learners Guilford County Schools TF, 2002

Literacy Toolbox  

Refer to the toolbox for a wealth of strategies to facilitate high engaging classroom instruction and professional development.

Literacy Toolbox  

Refer to the toolbox for a wealth of strategies to facilitate high engaging classroom instruction and professional development.