Friday, September 9, 2011

Talking to the text...

"That is NOT a good idea!  How will Annie survive the fall? Why would could they screw the lid on the barrel?  This is not going to be be good..."  This quote came from a student who just HAD to talk back to the text!  Chris Van Allsburg's, Queen of the Falls, was a book that I stumbled upon during a texting conversation with a colleague this summer.  This book not only was a huge "interest" hit with the students, but was perfect for modeling how to "talk back to the text."

I had made it a goal this school year to stay true to what I believe about reading.  Reading is thinking.  I wanted students to be aware and to appreciate all of the moments when during an authentic reading experience students were "talking to the text" and how it supported their understanding of the text.  I started off with Queen of the Falls.  Any time a hand shot up or a comment stumbled out, I quickly jotted on a post-it what the student was saying while they were saying it.  Then, I encouraged the students to "jot" down moments when they felt this urge during their interdependent reading (Sidebar: I love that term!  Thank you Lucy Calkins!  Reading is not independent...we depend on each other for conversations, recommendations, encouragement...).  Share time was amazing!  Students were sharing moments from their post-its, such as...

  • "I get it now because..."
  • "Now I know why the book is called..."
  • "I found out the adventure! It is when..."
  • "What does commotion mean?"
As we shared, the class sorted the post-its by the kind of thinking that they had done.  During each of the three days, we read a little, I jotted their thinking, and then they practiced with their own reading... and of course I left them hanging (and wanting to read more)!  This book is not only beautifully illustrated but the strong main character of Annie Taylor has the students interpreting, analyzing, and synthesizing!  A great book to get their "thinking" going!

PS...When we did our Top 10 List of the week on Friday...Queen of the Falls was number one!  Many students chose it for their ABC book writing of the week!  Little did they know...they were writing the best summaries ever!

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