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Immersed in Reading! Literature Circles in the Middle Years By Faye Brownlie Hosted by the The BC Ministry of Education . What Really Matters for Struggling Readers   reading volume high success reading opportunities engage in literate conversations

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Immersed in Reading!

Literature Circles in the Middle Years

By

Faye Brownlie

Hosted by the

The BC Ministry of Education


  • What Really Matters for Struggling Readers

  •   reading volume

  • high success reading opportunities

  • engage in literate conversations

  • useful, explicit strategy instruction

  • Richard Allington, Vancouver,

  • LOMCIRA Fall Conference, October 2004


Grade 4/5

Strategies:

• various strategies for unknown words

Comprehension:

• identifying main ideas and relevant details


Content:Vikings

Strategies:

  • Listen and Sketch

  • • whole class repeated read aloud

  • • sketch ‘what’s happening’

  • • emphasize one way to learn new words in context

  • • compare with a partner

  • • listen again

    • add on


Note Taking

•as a class, highlight the words you needed for your sketch on the overhead


They have placed me outside their tents where they can keep an eye on me. I notice they took care to stake me in a grassy area empty of anything but myself. There is nothing close by that I can use to cut the bindings that tie my wrists to the stake.

Joan Carter – Dream Carvers


In partners, read another section of the text an eye on me. I notice they took care to stake me in a grassy area empty of anything but myself. There is nothing close by that I can use to cut the bindings that tie my wrists to the stake.

• individually, underline key words

• together, compare your underlined words and highlight key words


Webbing an eye on me. I notice they took care to stake me in a grassy area empty of anything but myself. There is nothing close by that I can use to cut the bindings that tie my wrists to the stake.

Students are working in small groups, collecting information on their aspect of Viking life.

• as a class, create a web of what is currently known about Vikings

• use three colours of chalk for the web, one for Viking, a second for big ideas about Vikings, a third for details

• students give an idea and tell what colour it should be written in



  • Collaborative Summary aspect of Viking life

  • individually each student generates three big ideas about the topic being studied

  • these are written down, one per strip of paper

  • students meet in pairs and negotiate their six ideas into three

  • pairs meet in groups of four and negotiate their six ideas into three

  • students write one paragraph for each big idea – 10 to 15 minute write


  • each step of the process is modeled aspect of Viking life

  • • an idea is a big idea if you can talk about it, adding on, for 1 minute

  • • students reflect on how their negotiations worked


Literature Circles aspect of Viking life


  • no assigned roles aspect of Viking life

  • no limits on amount of reading

  • constantly changing discussion groups

  • student choice of books

  • journals

  • bi-weekly comprehension strategies


  • Introducing Lit Circles aspect of Viking life:

  • Novice:

  • ‘say something’

  • learning how to talk about text

  • * See My Relatives in Resource Package


  • Experienced: aspect of Viking life

  • ‘The Story Behind the Poem’ (Student Diversity; Brownlie, Feniak)

  • setting the stage (themes and/or critical issues)

  • * See Hiroshima Exit in Resource Package


  • Marketing the Books aspect of Viking life

  • Novice/Experienced:

  • ‘managed choice’ – choose two books

  • background/brief summary/length/style – ‘notice that’

  • who would like this book/why

  • read a page


Grade 4/5 aspect of Viking life

Number the Stars - Lois Lowry

*Stone Fox - John G. Reynolds

Midnight Fox - Betsy Byars

Woo -Constance Horne

Jacob’s Little Giant - Barbara Smucker

How Come the Best Clues Are Always in the Garbage? - Linda Bailey

Lucy and the Big Bad Wolf - Ann Jungman


Grade 4/5, Canadian Historical Fiction aspect of Viking life

Camp X – Eric Walters

*Danger at the Landing – Becky Citra (Orca Young Reader)

The Lost Sketch – Andrea and David Spalding (Adventure Net)

Terror in the Harbour – Sharon McKay (Our Canadian Girls)

Across the James Bay Bridge – Julie Lawson (Our Canadian Girls)

A Mighty Big Imagining – Lynne Kositsky (Our Canadian Girls)

Hobo Jungle – Dorothy Harris (Our Canadian Girls)


Grade 5/6 aspect of Viking life

The Breadwinner – Deborah Ellis

Parvana’s Journey – Deborah Ellis

Good-bye Marianne – Irene N. Watts

Remember Me - Irene N. Watts

Island – Gordon Korman

Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson

Holes – Louis Sachar


Grade 6/7, Hope/Courage/Survival/Persecution aspect of Viking life

*When the Soldiers Were Gone – Vera W. Propp

Daniel’s Story – Carol Matas

Jesper – Carol Matas

Willow and Twig – Jean Little

The Old Brown Suitcase – Lillian Boraks-Nemetz

Goodbye, Vietnam – Gloria Whelan

So Far from the Bamboo Grove – Yoko Kawashima Watkins, Jean Fritz


Grade 6/7 aspect of Viking life

The Saga of Darren Shan – Darren Shan

Roman Mystery Series – Caroline Lawrence

Silverwing Series – Kenneth Oppal

Run – Eric Walters

Feather Boy – Nicky Singer

Hitler’s Daughter – Jackie French

Petey – Ben Mickaelsen

Habibi – Naomi Shihab Nye

The Amah – Lawrence Yep

The Girls – Amy Goldman Koss

The Shadow Children Series – Margaret Peterson Haddix


Grade 8/9 aspect of Viking life

Soldier Boys – Dean Hughes

Caught in the Crossfire – Alan Gibbons

The Shakespeare Stealer - Gary Blackwood

Running Loose – Chris Crutcher

Hope Was Here – Joan Bauer

Search of the Moon King’s Daughter – Linda Holman

Private Peaceful – Michael Morpurgo

The Garbage King – Elizabeth Laird

Lord of the Nutcracker Men – Iain Lawrence


  • Lit Circle Conversations aspect of Viking life

  • Novice:

  • begin with ‘say something’

  • each student responds in turn

  • general conversation can follow

  • teacher meets with each group

  •  other students are reading


  • Experienced: aspect of Viking life

  • groups meet simultaneously

  •  teacher moves from group to group

  •  begins with student observations or questions about their reading

  •  groups can all be talking about an assigned critical focus


  • Response Journals aspect of Viking life

  • Novice:

  • double-entry journals

  •  written in class, together

  •  10 minute write

  •  develop criteria for powerful responses


  • Response Journals aspect of Viking life

  • Experienced:

  • personal response

  •  written as individually appropriate, independently

  •  establish criteria for powerful responses


Double-entry Journal aspect of Viking life

What Happened My Thinking

Event 1

Event 2

* See Terror in the Harbour in Resource Package


Quote My Thinking aspect of Viking life

1.

2.

* See The Giver in Resource Package


  • Dialogue Journal aspect of Viking life

  • students reading the same book, in about the same place

  • students write to each other

  • the next day students exchange books and respond to each other

  • * See Cleopatra VII in Resource Package


Integrated Response aspect of Viking life

-students write in response to what they are reading, including both text references and personal connections

* See Power of Family in Resource Package


  • Comprehension Strategies aspect of Viking life

  • Novice:

  • every two weeks, as a class

  • specific comprehension focus chosen based on student need and curriculum


  • Comprehension Strategies aspect of Viking life

  • Experienced:

  • every two weeks

  •  students can choose their comprehension strategy to demonstrate the specific curriculum outcome


Comprehension Strategies can include: aspect of Viking life

Containers for Characters



Finale/Culminating Activities aspect of Viking life

Novice/Experienced:

Write to the teacher, a letter of advice, about teaching Lit. Circles

* See Resource Package for Samples


  • Finale/Culminating Activities aspect of Viking life

  • may vote on best reads, books to exclude, have a book club party

  • consider the question, ‘What have these books taught you about life and living?’ (Drew Davies)

  • ideogram on the theme


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