Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thinking As They Are Reading

Today I want to suggest that you try asking your kids about what they are thinking while they are reading. This is not as easy as it sounds.

Sometimes kids are concentrating so hard on sounding everything out that they can't think about what's going on in the story.

Maybe they haven't been asked to think about the story - they have only been asked to regurgitate what they read.

There are tons of things to be thinking about. Formulating predictions, confirming ideas, forming opinions, making connections (to other books, experiences), and pulling information.

I love Third Grade. It seems to be the year where kids start to really gain independence...mostly in their thinking. They question deeper, they decide preferences, they understand things in a whole new level. But that isn't to say you can't lay the road for that great thinking from day one.

In reading with Nick, I am always talking with him (of course more to him), giving him ideas about what I think, what I wonder, and times where our life connects with the book. "Remember when we saw the fire truck? It made loud noises," when we read a page about transportation.

It's as easy as that. Talking out loud about what you are thinking.

Kids need to see that modeling.

Again, it is fun when, about third grade, things get more abstract. There may be many ways to look at a situation, to think about what is happening in the reading. One of my favorite things is to have a child say something they are thinking that is completely different from me. "WOW! I didn't even think about that! Thanks for sharing that ~ I learned something."

Hearing their thinking tells you a lot about them too. It tells you where there may be gaps in what they are understanding, and where you can help.

But don't let them get by with, "I am thinking about the story." Delve deeper. It may take a while, but the payoff will be great.

"Text is merely ink on a page until a reader breathes life into them," favorite quote of all time.

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