As a teacher, you know that one of the most important skills your students can learn is how to respond effectively to what they read. Whether they’re reading a textbook, a work of fiction, or an article online, understanding and engaging with the material is crucial. Getting students to do this can be easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you out when teaching students to respond to reading.
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Encourage Students to Ask Questions
One of the best ways to engage students with the material is to encourage them to ask questions while reading. What does this character want? Why did the author choose this particular word? What would happen if things went differently?
Using a KWL chart before, during, and after reading is an effective way to help students ask questions.
By encouraging your students to ask questions, you’re helping them develop a critical eye and fostering curiosity. Plus, you might be surprised by the insightful questions they come up with!
Teach Them How to Use Sticky Notes to Respond to Reading
Sticky notes are a great tool for students to interact with their reading meaningfully. There are several ways to use sticky notes, but one effective method is to have them write down one question about the text on each note and then post them around the room. Not only will this help get their wheels turning, but it will also give you a good idea of which concepts need further clarification.
Have Them Discuss it With a Partner
Sometimes, all students need is a little push to start responding. If that’s the case with your class, try having them discuss what they’ve read with a partner before sharing out with the whole group. This way, they can ease into the discussion without feeling like they’re being put on the spot. Once they start talking with their partner, they won’t want to stop!
If your students need help learning how to talk about reading, writing, and other content – get them started with these Accountable Talk Stems!
Have Them Summarize in Their Own Words
An important part of understanding something is explaining it in your own words. That’s why having your students summarize what they’ve read in their own words is such an effective strategy. It forces them to think about their reading and determine the most important parts. You can have them do this orally or in writing; it’s a great way to check for understanding.
Set a Purpose for Reading & Responding
When students know they’re looking for specific information while reading, they’re more likely to pay attention and process what they’re taking. So, whether it’s characters’ motivations, instances of foreshadowing, or examples of figurative language, give your students something specific to look for, like these reading notes, that will help them better engage with the text. It’ll make it easier for you to gauge their understanding when you discuss what they’ve read afterward.
Model How to Respond to Reading
Last but not least, one of the best ways to get students to respond is by modeling it yourself. When you’re reading aloud or discussing a text with your class, stop and think aloud often. This will give students an idea of how they should approach their reading. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for you to model critical thinking for your students!
With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to teaching your students how to respond effectively to reading! Remember that engagement looks different for every student, so feel free to try out different methods until you find what works best for your class.
What strategies do you use to help students respond to reading?
Need reading resources to help students respond to reading?
Here are a few of my favorite fiction resources:
These non-fiction resources are perfect for asking questions:
The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.Robert John Meehan
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