Ideas for getting students to actively engage in reading

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by Mrs. H2O, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Mrs. H2O

    Mrs. H2O Rookie

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    Oct 5, 2012

    I am teaching 7th grade language arts. This is my first year at this level, my second year as a teacher.

    At my school, each grade has two teams, the "high" team and the "low" team. My team this year has the "low" students -- most of them have a 3-5 grade reading level, with a couple of 2nd grade levels and a couple of 7th grade levels.

    I have noticed that when we're reading a story as a class (I usually read to them because the kids aren't very fluent readers. I believe they need to hear and follow along with a fluent reader.) they don't follow along. Some of them are looking at me. Some of them are staring at a random spot on the book and a couple of them are staring at the ceiling.

    I've asked them to read along with me since that will help improve their reading ability (seeing what the words look like), but short of throwing candy at them (which did work today BTW), I am at a loss as to how else to motivate them to follow along.

    (I gave them candy today to the first person who caught me making a mistake in my reading. They loved this and followed along avidly. I want them to follow along to get the meaning, not just to catch me with my tongue wrapped around my eye tooth so I can't see what I'm saying.)
     
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  3. mrsenglish

    mrsenglish Rookie

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    Oct 5, 2012

    Have them annotate! I have my students annotate on post its. That helps
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 5, 2012

    One thing I learned during student teaching: if you have the audio cd to back up the text book stories, use that. I agree with you that they should hear the perfect pronunciation, intonation and fluency to read better. By having the cd player read for you, you are freed up. (if you're reading the book you can't see your students, I think that's why they're off task). You can walk around and constantly monitor the students to ensure that they are following along. At this point you'll catch the ones not looking at the book. If they're looking at it most of them will most likely follow the text anyways.
    I use this all the time, and never have problems with students not paying attention. You can also pause the cd to ask comprehension questions. (you can use your candy trick, or other rewards)

    Then my master teacher said to have them partner read. Students are paired up and alternate reading one paragraph to each other. They shouldn't be shy because they're only reading to each other, not the whole class. They already heard the story once, so they should understand what it's about, which should also help their reading.
    The room will be a little noisy, but you can just walk around and make sure they're all reading.
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Oct 6, 2012

    You'll have to do lessons with them on HOW to read. I'm amazed at how many of my low-level readers fail to do things that those of use who are good readers just do naturally. My low readers get completely overwhelmed with articles because of all the different text features. They don't know where to start or how to process all that information. I've had to cut articles apart for some kids so they don't get caught up in the captions, pictures, etc. Sometimes we annotate. Sometimes we use symbols. They listen to me read or read with a partner. I had to do a lesson on how to follow along with someone who is reading. Some of mine had no idea.
     
  6. perplexed

    perplexed Comrade

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    Oct 7, 2012

    We just finished the strategy of "monitoring comprehension"/metacognition and my students would record what they were thinking as they read. My students read at about a 2nd-5th grade level too. I'm basically going through all of Stephanie Harvey's toolkit on the reading strategies and adding in reading skills.
    While they read, they record their inner voice. I would have them record on the actual writing piece, sometimes on post-it notes (they love fun colors!), sometimes on a "think-mark", sometimes in a double entry journal, and on a graphic organizer that has thought bubbles all over it.

    Students finish these thinking stems...

    I'm noticing....
    I'm wondering....
    I'm feeling...
    I'm picturing....
    I'm figuring out...
    I'm predicting....

    I know I have more than that on my anchor chart. I always have them do something while they read so they keep thinking while they read. A lot of them thought that reading meant just being able to read the words, so I'm trying to get them to understand that reading is thinking.
     
  7. perplexed

    perplexed Comrade

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    Oct 7, 2012

    Also, once a week I also have "fun" colored pens that they can borrow from me so they can record their thinking. It's amazing what they'll do when they can write with a pink, purple, green, or turquoise colored pen for the reading.
     
  8. mikemack42

    mikemack42 Companion

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    Dec 18, 2012

    I found Cris Tovani's I Read But I Don't Get It very helpful as a guide for how to teach reading. Like a previous poster said, many kids don't know how to read, not as in they're illiterate, but as in they don't know how to comprehend what they read.

    I give this students this list of strategies from the book and have them work on the techniques. To work on these techniques, you obviously do want them to all be reading the same text, preferably a short one. For long term reading, I do give them a choice of what to read, which helps with motivation, and they read on their own, focusing on skills I'm trying to teach (identifying tone, gathering evidence for an essay, etc.)

    What Do Good Readers Do?
    - from I Read It, but I Don’t Get It by Cris Tovani
    1. They use existing knowledge to make sense of new information.
    2. They have a voice inside their head which interacts with the text- asking questions, agreeing or disagreeing with it. They ask questions about the text before, during and after reading.
    3. They draw inferences from the text.
    4. They monitor their comprehension.
    5. They use “fix-up” strategies when meaning breaks down.
    6. They determine what is important.
    7. They synthesize information to create new thinking.
    8. They have a camera inside their head visualizing what’s happening.

    How Do I Know When I’m Confused?
    - fromI Read It, but I Don’t Get It by Cris Tovani
    1. The voice inside your head isn’t interacting with the text.
    2. The camera inside your head shuts off- you can’t see the text.
    3. Your mind begins to wander, thinking about things unconnected to the text.
    4. You can’t remember what you just read- if you can’t retell it or at least some of it, then you should go back and re-read.
    5. Clarifying questions don’t get answered- if you find yourself confused about something in the text and haven’t found the answer, you either need more background knowledge or are not focused on the text.
    6. You reencounter a character and have no idea who they are. Good readers keep track of characters and know who they are.

    What Do I Do When I’m Confused?
    - from I Read It, but I Don’t Get It by Cris Tovani

    - If you’re stuck on a word/idiom/allusion (reference to real or fictional person, place, or thing), remember these strategies:
    1. How important is the word/idiom/allusion- can you understand the reading without it? If so, it’s ok to skip it.
    2. Read around the word and look for clues to the definition.
    3. Does the word look like a word you know in English?
    4. Does the word look like a word you know in Spanish (beware of false friends- embarrassed does not mean embarazado)?
    5. Does the word create an image in your head?
    6. Does the word have any prefixes or suffixes (pre-, post-, -less, -ful, etc.)?

    If you’re stuck on general content, remember these strategies:
    1. Make a connection between the text and:
    - your life - your knowledge of the world - another text
    2. Make a prediction 3. Stop and think about what you have already read.
    4. Ask yourself a question and try to answer it. 5. Reflect in writing on what you have read.
    6. Visualize. 7. Use print conventions. 8. Retell what you’ve read.
    9. Reread. 10. Notice patterns in text structure.
    11. Adjust your reading rate: slow down or speed up.
     
  9. mikemack42

    mikemack42 Companion

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    Dec 18, 2012

    Thinking about this more, doing what Perplexed does might me more helpful than just giving them a list. Maybe take the list and convert the points into sentences to be finished. For example, instead of just telling them good readers use existing knowledge to make sense of new information, have them complete the sentence, "The fact that I know (background knowledge) made it easier for me to understand (part of book)".

    Using this process, they might write, "The fact that I know what it's like to be in love helped me understand why Romeo and Juliet risk so much to be together."

    Thanks for the idea Perplexed.
     
  10. UniQK

    UniQK New Member

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    Dec 22, 2012

    lol simple!!

    Well works for me... Create a good rapport with them!! Come on we all human and we all have been problems at one point and time...

    From what you have said I would suggest that in this situation you should surprise them organize a social, something they wouldn't be expecting (something for them, not for you!! And MAKE SURE THERE IS FOOD!) Get talking have a bonding session.Analyze your class: find out who are the most influential (this is a key factor to note especially if you want to be conducting collective activities). Create unity however to get that you need respect and to get respect you need Trust.

    Once that's out of the way everything falls in place, then for the reading try role play (you and/or them) or depending on how much you want to cover get them to read one or two lines each going anti/clockwise until you done :)
     
  11. AFI221

    AFI221 Rookie

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    Jan 6, 2013

    Sabotage!

    That is HILARIOUS! I love it and think my 8th grade LA students would get into it! Thanks for sharing!!
     

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