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As we've talked about, good readers are doing a LOT of thinking when they are reading! BUT, now it's time to focus on your thoughts that are about something important. You have a help sheet in your reading binder that helps you figure out if something is important.
You might have a great idea. For example, when you read about Captain Orlov arriving on the island, you might have thought that he was a jerk. You were so right! However, if you just wrote "Captain Orlov is a jerk!" you started with a great idea. But, you have to write more to really show your deep thinking. Instead, add more like this:
The author doesn't always come right out and explain everything to the reader. So we learn how to use clues to figure something out. You might actually have an "aha" moment!
As you read, are you feeling something? Like you want to jump in and warn the character not to do something? Are you overwhelmed with worry? Do you rejoice when something good happens? These are important things to write about. However, don't just say your feeling. You need to say why it matters.
We've talked about how readers have lots of questions when they read. It's okay to write a question on a post-it. BUT it needs to be about something important. Also, you MUST answer it in a meaningful way.
When you read a fictional book, do you imagine what is happening in your head? Good readers almost feel like they are watching a movie. They can imagine what the characters look like and basically "see" the action that is happening.
We all have experienced a lot in our real life. For example, you might have played basketball, gone to a birthday party, or felt sad if a good friend moved far away. These experiences are call schema.
All of your real life experiences actually help you understand what the characters in the book are feeling. For example, if the book character is feeling lonely, you can understand because you might have felt lonely before too. Or if the book character is worried about playing in a basketball tournament, you can understand if you also had a similar experience.
All of our schema helps us to really relate to what the book character is going through. It helps the action feel more real.
So...if you are visualizing and using your schema to understand what characters are feeling, you actually can get so absorbed into a book that you feel like you "jump into the book."
You can tell that this is happening if, when you read, you almost forget the real world. Maybe your mom calls you to dinner and you don't even hear her voice! LOL!
The bottom line is, you start to feel like the characters in the book are REAL people! That means you react to what is happening to them like they are friends or people you care about.
You can tell this is happening when you feel excited when they are excited. You feel relieved when they escape danger. You gasp when something terrible happens. You cry when they experience something sad like if their pet died.
What does infer mean? It means you use clues to figure out something. Authors don't always tell you everything.
For example, the author might write:
Suzie Q skipped down the stairs, jumping the last two. She scurried into the kitchen and grabbed her lunch and gave her mom a hug. Then she raced out the door, heading to school for her first day of fourth grade.
You probably figured out:
Suzie Q is excited that the first day of school has arrived. She is probably feeling confident.
The author COULD have just said she felt excited and confident about the first day of school. But, that is the boring way to do it.
Good readers can use the clues to figure it all out without the author telling you everything.
I know this sounds weird. Metacognition might be a word you have never even heard about. It basically means to be aware of what you are thinking. So, the bottom line is that good readers are thinking about their thinking! Does that make sense?
For example, while you read, you realize something isn't making sense. Or while you read, you notice how you are reacting to what is happening. Or while you read, you understand that you were inferring to figure out what the character was feeling. Or while you read, you realize that you are forming a strong opinion about what the character decided to do.
Think of your favorite book. There are probably lots of reasons why you love it. Maybe it's funny. Maybe you really relate to the characters. Maybe the author is really good at building suspense.
All of that is awesome. BUT, there is a big difference between thinking something is funny or interesting and realizing that something super important just happened in the story.
For example, a character might be having fun at a birthday party and someone throws a water balloon at his head. That is hilarious! You might have even experienced that yourself! But, that doesn't mean it is important.
Ask yourself, "If that scene got left out of the book, does it change the plot?" Or another way to think about it if that scene disappeared does it actually crash the story?
So, in our example, what if during the birthday party the character's best friend broke up with him. Now THAT could end up changing the story completely. So that counts as something important.
This is the beginning of the year. As such, we will be doing most of the reading and even the assignments at school.
At first, I will be modeling how we write down our thinking.
Then, the students will practice doing this on their own or as partners.
They will get lots of feedback from me of course.
The thinking will get written down in 2 main ways:
We will ALL be reading Island of the Blue Dolphins together in class. This is very important so that all my modeling and examples will make sense to everyone since we are reading the same book.
They will all have their own book of Island of the Blue Dolphins. Most work will be done in class while we are reading this book. However, if they need to finish something, they will take home the book along with their Reading Binder so they can complete the work.
We will write ideas we were thinking about as we were reading each day in our Reading Log Version A.
We will write BRIEF notes about all those ways good readers process as they read that were explained above.
The students should pick 3 or 4 areas to write a comment on. They don't need to fill out every line.
An example of a filled out log is posted below.
Each week the students will fill out the reading log.
They will show it to me at the end of the week (usually Friday).
They will receive a grade and then I am asking parents to sign the log next to the grade in order to keep informed about how your child is doing.
Feel free to contact me with questions of course!
The signed reading log needs to be shown to me each Monday.
This is related to something good readers do that we call metacognition. We talked about this above.
Even if you are doing great thinking while you read, you need to be aware of it. And you need to make sure you "capture" your ideas so you don't forget them.
So, how do we do that? We write it on post-its and stick them in the book exactly where you had the idea!
For each chapter you should have at least 2 good ideas to capture.
You will write your ideas on post-its. Those are small, right? So don't panic...it's not like you will be writing a lot!
And don't forget, we will do a lot of this together and I will be showing you how to do it. Then you will start doing it on your own.
Look below for tips on how to write good post-its.