I believe we should teach this from day 1. READING IS THINKING. Reading comprehension at the 6th grade level is supposed to be so much higher level than the previous years. It’s not just about retelling the story or remembering what the story was about. It’s thinking while you read. It’s predicting before you read and while you read. It’s making connections between what you are reading and yourself, or the world, or another text. It’s being able to visualize what’s going on in the text so that you feel like you are a part of it! It’s wondering about things as you read, asking questions of your character’s feelings, thoughts, and actions. It’s inferring what the author meant even though the author didn’t SAY it. It’s using your schema before you read and while you read to understand the literal meanings of the text as well as the underlying meanings. It’s synthesizing while you read-understanding when you need to change your thinking about the text. It’s ALL those things and more. Can I just say that these are hard things to accomplish? 🙂
SO-the only homework that I assign my kids each night is to read for at least 15 minutes (the book of their choice) and to complete 1 box of our comprehension thinking sheet. Here is the actual sheet that they will have totally completed(in a perfect world-sigh) by Friday each week.
They get to choose which box they want to complete each night. For the past several weeks I had them all use and write about the same comprehension strategy-so 1 week they had to write about making connections in both comprehension boxes, the next week they had to write about visualizing, and so forth. Beginning this week, they can write about any comprehension strategy that they actually used while reading.
This past Friday I gave them a blank comprehension thinking sheet, and they had to complete it for a reading assessment grade. I took last week to go over it AGAIN with them to make sure that they understood what I was expecting of them-lots of deep thinking, reflecting, and writing.
Here is a picture of one of my student’s sheets from Friday about the book Love, Aubrey.
There are 2 boxes to write about comprehension strategies they used while reading, 1 box to write their thoughts and reflections about their book, and 1 box to write about a literary element(plot, setting, character, etc).
I’m hoping that the more we read and the more we write about what we read and the more we read….. the better thinkers we will become! 🙂
So, just in case you can’t read what this one student wrote I am going to type it below for you! PLEASE let me know what you think about this overall process/assignment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Box 1-Comprehension Strategy
“In this book, Love, Aubure, Aubrey is a main character and the part that I am reading is where Bridgette jumps on top of Aubrey and Aubrey yelling “Stop”. I can see Bridgette looking with a weird expression on her face and then start laughing with Aubrey laughing with her.”
Box 2-Comprehension Strategy
“In this book, Bridgette, Aubrey, and Grams are the main characters who live close by each other and are very good friends. Bridgette moved by Grams during the winter and Aubrey moved in with Grams not too long ago. When Aubrey moved in it was almost time to go to school. The question that I am asking myself is does she like school?”
“I love this book Love, Aubrey because it is very exciting but sad. It is exciting because you never know what’s going to happen next. This book is sad because Aubrey lost her sister and father in a car wreck and her mother has just abandoned her.”
Box 4-Literary Elements/Devices
” My main character is Aubrey. Aubrey has a lot going on in her life and school makes it harder. But three things that keeps her going is Grams, Bridgette, and Sammy her pet fish. Gram keeps her safe with a house and food. Bridgette makes her feel like she can do anything. And Sammy gave her company.”
What do you think? Are we on our way to becoming critical readers and thinkers? My 6th graders are NOT used to writing about their reading before they get to 6th grade (according to them).