I'm back with the next Summer Rewind idea that I wish I had shared during the year but didn't. Taking a look back at the year, I think one of the most important reading units we tackled was our "Thinking and Talking About Books" Unit. Sometimes there is such a rush to get our kids decoding, decoding, decoding that stopping to really think and talk about books is often put on the back burner. This is such an important part of growing our little readers (especially with the new Common Core Standards), that I knew I had to beef up my unit this year. The CCSS expects you to provide prompts and support as students learn to sustain conversations, so I added lots of visual support for my little emerging readers and boy, what a difference it made! The kids had the most amazing conversations about what they were reading, both with me during conferences and with their peers during partner work. Take a look and see if there's anything you can use to help your kids really deepen their understanding of the books they read and further develop their comprehension skills.
During the unit, I tried to use really juicy books that were filled with things to think and talk about. (Some that worked really well were: This is Not My Hat, Chrysanthemum, William's Doll and Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon.)
First we gradually built this anchor chart, adding the prompts as they were introduced one at a time. The simple, kid-friendly icons were a great reference for the kids who couldn't access the text yet, and we used them for the rest of the year as visual clues.
Once the kids had become familiar with the prompts, they practiced in partnerships. Rolling the "Roll and Talk" cube, they used the picture clue that they rolled to launch their talk. These conversations were so amazing and pretty funny to listen in on. I also gave the kids bookmarks with the pictures clues to keep in their book boxes and use during independent reading and they did a great job referring to them.
Finally, once the kids were experts at really thinking about their reading, I transitioned some new Reader's Response sheets that reflected our new learning into the Read Along/Listening Station. I used a vertical hanging folder pocket chart to store the sheets, and the kids could choose which one they wanted to use to write about their thinking.
All in all, I was really impressed with and proud of the work my kids did during this unit. Their talks were both silly and sophisticated, in that way that only kindergartners can pull off. I'm looking forward to tweaking the unit a little more and rolling it out again this year. If you think you can use any of these resources, click the last picture above to grab the whole bundle. Leave a comment if you have any ideas that I can add to my unit this year or just to let me know what you think . . .
Have a great night!