Hi everyone! Welcome to Strategy Share! This is a series I just recently started that focuses on teaching strategies for reading and writing. You can learn more about strategies in general here. Today, I want to share some reading strategies for previewing texts. These strategies are geared for guided reading, but you could use it during a read aloud too. Below, I will also include a free resource to help you apply these strategies in your classroom.
First off, guided reading time is limited, so previewing a text should be very brief. If you find you are super crunched for time, just spend a minute or two tops on this part of the guided reading lesson. It is still a very important part of the guided reading lesson, but a big chunk of time is not needed for it to be effective. You can also find more tips on teaching a guided reading lesson here.
For these strategies, choose just one to use. You could make a rotating schedule with the strategies for previewing texts if you like.
Be a Book Explorer: Since I have a trunk full of animal themed reading strategies in my guided reading units, I like to stick with this theme. With this strategy, students are jungle explorers. Students “explore” or walk through the text. This particular strategy is not narrowed down to just looking at pictures or looking at words, but rather, students freely explore the pages in the text and make their own discoveries.
Put on Your Binoculars: Keeping with the jungle explorer theme, students put on their “binoculars” to explore the pictures in the book. Now, if you want to get all fancy and you got a few extra minutes, you could actually have students use binoculars. If not, let students make binoculars with their hands to explore and make discoveries with the pictures. You can extend this by having each student point out something they notice, but that is not necessary if you need to keep the time down. You can get through this in a minute by using a sand timer if needed, so students know they got just that time to breeze through the pages.
Make Word Discoveries: Have those explorers “discover” words. You can either put a focus here on new vocabulary or familiar sight words. When focusing on familiar sight words, you can say something like, “Let’s discover words we know in the book. Jungle explorers, look for words you know.” To extend, each student can point out a word to you. If you are using books that are printed for each student, they could also highlight the words in the book if time allows. If you need to save time, just let students preview the words and each day have one or two students point out a sight word. You can also use the sand timer to give them their exploring time if needed.
If you will be focusing on new vocabulary, you can say, “Let’s explore for new words. Do you see any words you do not know?” Have students point out the new words. If it is a word that they should know, but just are not familiar with reading the word, you could have them use the picture clues to figure out the word. If it is a new word they may not be familiar with, but it has good context clues, you could lead students to figure out the meaning with the context clues if time allows. If not, you can just briefly explain what it means. If time is really short, you could lead students to the page with the new vocabulary word. Then ask, “Let’s explore for new words on this page. Do you see any words that you do not recognize?” Then give students the definition. I recommend pulling any language from the text to help explain the meaning, so it is more in a contextual way. This will help build stronger understanding.
Explore Predictions: To explore predictions, you could say, “Explorers, what do you think this text is about? Let’s explore some predictions.” Then have some students make a prediction. To monitor the time, you can use a sand timer. If calling on multiple students, you may want to use a 2 or 3 minute sand timer. If you need to limit the time, you can rotate having students make a prediction and just call on one student. Another way is to say, “In seven words or less, what is your prediction?”
Discover the Characters: With this strategy, students look through the pages and identify the characters that are evident through the pictures. After students look through the pictures you can either put the spotlight on them to talk about the characters or you can introduce the character. If you want students to explain their findings, you can ask, “What did you discover about the characters through the pictures?” If you will be introducing the character, just give a brief description of the character.
Discover the Setting: This strategy is similar to the discover the characters strategy, only the focus is on the setting. Instead of asking students to describe their discoveries about the character, they describe their discoveries about the setting.
Explore What You Know: This strategy is geared for non-fiction texts. When introducing a non-fiction book, students discuss what they know about the text. You could say, “Let’s explore what we know about this topic. Tell me something you know about __________.”
I hope these strategies for previewing texts help you up your game with guided reading! I am including a free resource for previewing texts to help you apply the strategies here. I think you are going to find it handy! 🙂
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