7 Active Reading Activities for Students

Literacy is NOT a Spectator Sport: Hands-On, Minds-On Active Reading Strategies

Categories: Literacy

This blog post is based on the book 200+ Proven Strategies for Teaching Reading.

Whether we teach six- or sixteen-year-olds, we need to awaken the students’ brains to make meaning out of text and boost comprehension. What do good readers do? Our brains are actively predicting, visualizing, contextualizing, questioning, critiquing, summarizing, synthesizing, and applying how to use this information as we are reading.

As teachers, we need to unpack these skills for our students by providing opportunities to engage with texts that utilize these skills. The message is clear: awaken their brains for hands-on and minds-on reading. Read more


Revising Student Writing: An Instructional Tool for Self- and Peer Assessment

Categories: Literacy

This blog post is connected with the book (Re)Designing Narrative Writing Units for Grades 5–12.

To effectively revise their writing for improvement, students need guidance on how to critically examine their own and classmates’ papers to detect strengths and weaknesses. To aid them, create a revision sheet that functions as an instructional tool for self-assessment and peer review. It should be expressly designed for students to critique key elements of the genre they aim to produce and align with the writing checklist and rubric that reflect expectations and criteria for the task.

Read more

Preparing Students for Student-Led Discussion

Preparing Students for Student-Led Discussion (Small Groups, Big Discussions Part 7)

Categories: Instruction, Literacy

This is the seventh post in a series on student-led, small-group discussions. To read the other posts, see “Small Groups, Big Discussions.” The series explores the challenges to effective small-group discussions and how to address them.

In Part 6 of this blog series, Setting the Stage for Student-Led Discussions, I shared that student-led discussions are most successful when consistent structures are in place and clear expectations for discussions are articulated and modeled by the teacher. Now that your classroom environment is set up for student talk, you may be wondering about grouping strategies and skills students need to be effective group members.
Read more

Laying the foundation for reading proficiency

Reading Proficiency Starts with a Solid Foundation

Categories: Common Core & Standards, Instruction, Literacy

The goal for any reading curriculum is to develop readers who are able to understand, evaluate, and respond to texts in thoughtful ways. We can lump these competencies under the concept of reading comprehension. There is also a second goal for reading: to develop children and adults who are lifelong avid readers who choose to make literacy an integral part of their lives.

In order to reach these lofty goals, however, students need to develop competencies in what most reading standards (e.g., Common Core Standards) refer to as foundational. Read more

Vocabulary in a SNAP

5Comment tail

Teaching Vocabulary in a SNAP

Categories: Instruction, Literacy

In my work as a consultant to schools, I’ve met many teachers who are concerned about the number of words their students know, as well as the limited knowledge of how words work, which students display. When we begin to discuss these issues, the teachers often share with me that they don’t have resources to address these deficiencies and that they are concerned about how to integrate meaningful vocabulary instruction into their lessons.

In response to these concerns that I’ve heard so many times, I began crafting short lessons intended to teach a few target words, building on a similarity (like a shared root) that the words have. Each mini-lesson contains four components, represented by the acronym SNAP. Read more