So how many of you are already back to school? I have to admit that I’m getting pretty excited about a new year, but I will definitely miss being at home. I’m trying to savor and enjoy every last second of my summer break and squeeze in a bunch of fun last minute activities. I’ve also tried to start getting my daughter back on some sort of schedule, because we have both become very spoiled to staying up late and sleeping late.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an email asking me how I started the year with reading workshop. The question really got me thinking about my first weeks of reading and even inspired a whole new unit! Just like math, I start the year with procedures and behavior expectations for reading workshop. We spend a ton of time on how to choose a book, what good readers look like, when to abandon a book, etc. I know that there are tons of resources on the management aspect of reading workshop, so I moved on to my actual reading instruction. In addition to fluency and vocabulary, I like to start the year with very basic comprehension strategies. I feel like students have to be able to comprehend what they’re reading before I can worry about more difficult skills such as author’s purpose. I usually spend an entire week on each of the following comprehension strategies: visualizing, making connections, asking questions, drawing conclusions, and summarizing. I teach each of the strategies through the workshop model and love using picture books as mentor texts. Once I teach these strategies, we refer to them all year long, so by the end of the year they are a natural part of reading. I’ve compiled five of my favorite lessons for each strategy to create a reading comprehension strategies unit, which includes a total of 25 comprehension lessons. If you want to check it out, you can click here or on the picture below.
I’ve also made these little exit passes that we occasionally use for our closing that tie into the comprehension strategies. Students can use it as a bookmark as they read, as an exit pass, or an activity for reading groups. Grab your free copy here!