Did you know that . . . ?

This week when we looked at non-fiction text, I wanted my reading group to think about pieces of information that they deemed important as either new information or information that should be shared. We used a series of insect books from Capstone Press as these little books have gorgeous photographs and simple, meaningful information. I wanted the focus to be on the conversation, not on reading long sections of text.

Students worked in partners and took turns reading a page of information. I encouraged students to also talk about what they noticed or wondered about in the photographs. I was pleased to see students referring to the text as they had these conversations, often rereading for clarity.

The task was then to each choose two pieces of information to share and draw about on a recording sheet. Some partners focussed on the same facts, others chose very different things. All the while, they were chattering about what they were thinking about what they saw and read.

Students referred to a chart of sentence starts that we had brainstormed together to help organize their thinking:

  • I found out that . . .
  • I discovered . . .
  • I just learned . . .
  • Did you know that . . . ?

Having a “Did you know . . ?” phrase honoured those students who did not find out anything new when they read the text. Students also used this phrase because they liked the excitement it generated.

The children studied the photographs carefully and added details to their own pictures to convey things that they were noticing. We have been talking a lot about “reading the pictures” as much as “reading the words” on a page.

What I love about the picture below is the tiny label “close up padern

What learning and experiences happened today? Students had the opportunity to:

  • explore a piece of non-fiction text
  • determine importance
  • distinguish between new information and facts already known
  • read aloud and listen to a peer read aloud
  • talk about information and photographs
  • share their learning in a picture and writing

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