Friday, July 21, 2017

Goals 5 and 6 - The Reading Strategies Book Study

Hello again!

Welcome back to the summer book study. I have been so excited to read the other blogs and hear your favorite strategies each week. It seems like there is always a strategy or two that I overlooked and have to go back and check it out after reading other's thoughts about it! That is EXACTLY why I wanted to do this study and collaborate with you all. :-)

 If you are playing catch up, no worries. 
Here's links to the first three posts:

***So I went back to copy these from the previous post, and accidentally deleted it. Can you say mini heart attack? Got it back up though. Whew!***

I'm very excited to start digging into the comprehension goals! I don't know about you, but I have had many little friends over the years who could read wonderfully, but struggled to comprehend. It has been my desire to "unlock" the love of reading for them, which as Serravallo points out, "...that lost-in-a-book, engaged sort of reading that makes reading enjoyable..." can only come if they understand what's going on.

I loved her idea of planting sticky notes inside a text for students as they read to encourage them to stop and jot (respond in writing). She suggested the sticky notes could say:
--Retell the most important events that happened in this chapter.
--Why did that (event) happen?
--Describe the setting. Use as much detail as you can.
--What is the main problem the character is facing?

She also gave a resource for retelling rubrics that you might want to check out. 

Here's a few of my favorite strategies from this goal:

5.3 Summarizing What's Most Essential

Summarizing has always been difficult for my 1st and 2nd graders. They either tell way too much or not enough

In recent years, I have resorted to asking them, "What will you tell mom or dad about this story when you go home?" It does help because they realize that their parents have not read the story and need some key details, but I am always looking for ways I can help students with this skill. 

I love the visual! 

5.13 Summarize Based on What a Character Wants

I really liked how this strategy encourages students to think about how each chapter in the book connects back to what the character wants. I think too often some readers have trouble making connections between chapters, and this strategy with the terrific prompts will be very helpful.

Another great graphic on this one--seriously--the visuals/graphics/charts included are amazing!

5.16 Summarizing with "Somebody...Wanted...But...So..."

This one jumped out at me because I use it for writing! 

When I'm trying to teach my littles to write a fiction story, this is one of the strategies I use to try and help them brainstorm.

It makes perfect sense to also use it as a summarizing strategy.

Serravallo says that in fiction comprehension, plot and setting are first, but character is a very close second!

"Characters can become our friends, can help us learn about lives outside of our own, and can help us think differently about or better understand people in our lives." (pg. 162)

After reading the introduction to this goal, I felt challenged to better understand text level. Serravallo explains that understanding will give us a better expectation for my reader's responses.

My favorite strategies from Goal 6:

6.2 What's in the Bubble?

This strategy is all about prompting our students to consider what the character is thinking and/or why they are saying and acting in a certain way.

I'm ordering some of these thought bubble sticky notes (affiliate link) to make this strategy easy to do. :-) I like how these are white...some of the brighter colors make it harder to see the writing.

6.10 Who's Telling the Story?

The example of lesson language in this strategy caught my eye because I remember having the exact conversation with my kiddos reading Horrible Harry this year!
It is so important that readers know who the narrator is and who is speaking by noticing dialogue tags. This strategy had another great visual and some great prompts that I will definitely be using this year!

6.12 Empathize to Understand

Okay, so I chose this strategy because it could serve a dual purpose in the classroom. 

We are lacking empathy in our society today! 

By using this strategy--which definitely would help make meaning of characters' words and actions--we would have a great opportunity to teach our students about empathy and considering other people's feelings...and maybe, just maybe, that lesson would be even more important than a reading strategy. 


Those are a few of my favorite strategies. 

I want to hear from you! Tell me about your favorites either in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Don't forget to check out the other blog posts below for more thoughts and ideas!


  1. I totally agree about the summarizing! It was always opposite ends of the spectrum for retelling...and we were constantly working to bring both sides to the middle in how many details they retold! :)

    1. You gotta love it, though--seeing them gain understanding and get better little by little! ;-)


    2. Ha ha, Whitney! Yes, I generally have a couple of students who want to tell E.V.E.R.Y detail and another couple who don't really seem to have even read the book. So, like Crystal mentioned, I would like to try the B.M.E. foldable strategy (5.3).

  2. I love how you pointed out that the lesson on empathy serves a dual purpose! I agree, helping kids learn to empathize with others will go a long way to helping them throughout their life, not just in a reading class.

    1. Thanks, Miranda! I love to incorporate life lessons wherever and whenever I can. :-)


  3. In addition to the strategies listed above (which I too noted as I read -- we teachers are on the same brain-wavelength, I think), I also liked Strategy 5.19 about the timelines with flashbacks and backstories. I'm hoping this strategy will help students better understand the "when" of the story line.
    Just before Christmas, we usually read The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. I'm hoping that Strategies 5.19 and 6.12 (empathizing) will help strengthen both their reading comprehension and their own personal choices in the realm of empathy.

  4. What I really found myself enjoying in these two chapters was that most of the strategies I marked could be used in both the small group AND in the whole group, either in the basal or while I read to them after recess. Between testing, school-wide events, and regular classroom interruptions small groups can be shortened or even missed. I like having strategies that I can use no matter how I have to.
    In chapter 5, I loved the chart in #3 that could be used in their notebooks. #4 had GREAT language with "Uh oh, phew"! And I have used #16 before and really liked it.
    In chapter 6, I marked almost all of the first 10! I plan to introduce #7 and use the puppets in my centers.


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