Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Reading Comprehension salad

Sometimes, I find myself hating buddy reading.  GASP!  But it's because a lot of the time, well, they aren't reading.  Or if they are reading, they aren't you know, really reading.  Or one of them is reading and the other isn't paying attention.  Or they aren't really talking about the book.  Or a million other things.  And when I thought about it, I think it has a lot to do with that they really aren't sure what to say.  Even when we do give them prompts and sentence stems.  They just don't get it.

Now, I do truly love and adore the book Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor.  She has a great activity called reading salad in her book.  In the activity, you show kids how real reading is thinking, and that as we put in our lettuce pieces for thinking and our red tomatoes for the text we read, we end up with salad that is big on greens.  Meaning- we think more than we read.  I love making reading salad with the kids.  But then I got to thinking that it really shouldn't be a one time deal.  So I started doing it for every book I read aloud.  And then I was thinking about putting the other comprehension strategies into the bowl in the form of other vegetable mnemonics.  And why not train the kids to make salad for themselves?  Giving them this task as they buddy read will help me to get a quick visual on who is on task and who isn't.  Also, giving them their own salad pieces to take home in my universal homework folder gives them a way to make reading more concrete at home with their parents.

So here are some kids using the pieces in a wicker basket I had on their tables.  But the basket is not necessary.  You can easily just make a pile of pieces in front of you as you read.  The green is for thinking, "lettuce think" about what we're reading.  Anytime they have any thought or use any comprehension strategy as they read, they put a piece of lettuce down.  They only put down one tomato if they had a thought on a particular page of text.
It also works well when you have to make a triad in buddy reading. It gives the third person an active role.  No one is passively listening, they all add pieces in to the salad.

The white pieces are onions.  I still have to draw circles into them.  I decided on onions being for connections, after doing a lesson out of Tanny's book called "Concentric Circles of Connection".  The kids agreed that a sliced open onion looked like our chart.  At the moment, we are concentrating on text to self connections. Any time we have one, we discuss it and add it to the salad along with a green piece of lettuce, since it's a type of thinking.  We also have talked about making our connections return to the text.  I showed them this picture I saw on pinterest:

So when we are making a connection to the book, I start my finger at the top of the book, and as I say or they say their connection I make a big loop outward and then bring it back around.  So they've started making that gesture too when they make a connection.

I made orange carrots for Questioning.  And honestly, it was just for the "k" sound.  Questioning Carrots.  I liked the sound of it.  Any time we think of a question about the story, or about a character, we put in a carrot and a piece of lettuce to go along with the text tomato.  I've had to talk to them a lot about words that begin questions- because they weren't sure.  They were actually more likely to make a prediction- "Maybe...such and such will happen" rather than a question-- so it's a continued work.

Making the pieces is not exactly easy.  I will come up with a better way for next year- but for now I've been cutting 280 pieces of each veg out of construction paper.  I have had to create an assembly line of forced labor.  Here we're making the cucumbers for visualization.  We also had to draw on the outer ring of green and seeds.  I picked the cucumber for this strategy because of how you put cucumber slices on your eyes at a spa.  They kids get it, and when we visualize we put the pieces up to our eyes when we talk about it.  When teaching this though, it takes a lot of modeling.  I've had to keep the book nearly shut when I read so they can't see the picture and guide them through a visualization before I show a picture.  They aren't doing this independently yet- but we will get there.

Next up for the assembly line is cutting out yellow bell pepper rings.  I've decided to go with Peppers of Prediction/Prior Knowledge for the inference piece.  We'll be hitting that by the end of the week.  What I have left to get to in the next weeks are Main Idea (summarizing), Synthesizing, and Monitoring for Meaning.  I know I want to do salad dressing, originally I thought for synthesizing, but now I'm thinking it would be better for main idea (summarizing).  I want to do croutons.  And I was thinking this morning of doing mushrooms for Monitor for Meaning, but maybe I should do mushroom for Main idea, and salad dressing for synthesizing, and croutons for Monitoring...decisions, decisions....

I will try to take a video of a read aloud where we use the pieces so you can see it in action.  Ideally, I'd like to do a parent tutorial video and have my ESOL co-teacher Mr. Morales do it in Spanish so I can post it on my school web page.

What do you think? Something worth giving a go?

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1 comment:

  1. Oh, very, very worthwhile! You do realize that you are setting high standards for your students, right? But because you have created scaffolding for them, they are able to do it. Bravo! I love the comprehension book and have taught lessons from it and been thrilled when my students could use thse strategies in a discussion lead by me. But you are having them use the strategies on their own. WOW, I so love reading your blog! I feel like I am getting my own PD. thanks for sharing!