1 1 Unit One Taking Charge of Reading September/October - 4 weeks (Level 3 Reading Benchmark: I/J/K) Welcome to the Unit In many ways second grade is both a continuation and a brand new start. By the time you meet your second graders, they have been in reading workshops for two years and they already know a lot about the habits of avid readers. This unit is designed to get everything up and going all at once the routines, habits, workflow, the time spent reading, etc. while simultaneously building children s identities, skills, and confidence as readers. In this unit, you ll encourage your students to draw on all they learned last year, and you ll also convey that this year will bring important new challenges and expectations. You ll guide children to start the unit by reading books that are easy for them (so as to get off any summer rust) and then once they ve resumed reading a huge volume of books, you ll help those who are ready to do so move up a level of text difficulty, and will develop expectations that they ll be doing this often throughout the year. In order to set that in motion, you ll want children to read rigorously, from the very start, with attention to volume, stamina, and fluency. They ll work hard to monitor for meaning and to push their thinking, both on their own and in the company of a partner. Overview Essential Question: How can I become a strong, independent reader who sets and meet goals and who recognizes and problem-solves when something in my reading doesn t make sense? How can my partner and I work together to share and grow ideas, and to tackle trouble as we read? Bend I: Making Reading the Best It Can Be: Setting Goals for the New Year (Rereading, Volume, Stamina, Fluency; Assess Readers) How can I select goals for myself as a reader around the kinds of books I will read (and how), the number of pages, and for how long I will read each day?
2 2 Bend II: Reading to Retell and Recommend Books to a Partner (Retelling and Monitoring for Sense) How can I get ready to share books I m reading with my partner, retelling the important parts or parts that stood out to me and talking about what I ve learned? Bend III: Getting Ready to Tackle Harder Books (Moving up Bands of Text Difficulty) How can I become an independent problem-solver who recognizes difficulty and draws on strategies (and my partner s help) to tackle new and tricky words, phrases and information? Second grade is a pivotal time in children s reading lives. The books students read will be increasingly demanding; the sentences will become longer, the amount of unfamiliar vocabulary greater, and the characters and plotlines in fiction will become more involved, the information in nonfiction more densely packed. Children will need flexible word solving skills (especially related to vowels and vowel combinations) in order to tackle the more multi-syllabic words, and they ll need to develop finesse with prefixes and suffixes. Meanwhile, the Reading Standards for Literature place an increased emphasis on cross-text thinking work (CCSS RL 2.6, 2.9); children are expected to think across texts, viewpoints, messages and main ideas, and to synthesize knowledge from one source to another. The good news is that incoming second graders have some solid skills and routines under their belts. They know how to read alone and how to read with partners. They know when a book feels too hard and how to choose one that is just-right. They know that reading involves using strategies at points of difficulty and above all, making sense of the text. This year, they will draw on all of these behaviors and skills, and do so with growing independence, as they tackle the new challenges of second grade reading. The unit begins with a recollection of the habits and routines of reading workshop, with particular emphasis on volume, stamina and fluency. The second bend spotlights monitoring for meaning and retelling, both alone and with a partner. In the third bend, children learn to do the work that comes with reading more complex texts.
3 3 CCSS/LS Standards Addressed in this Unit We reference many standards in this first write-up not because we expect that children will master them all by the unit s end. Rather, the work children do as you aim to get everything in the reading workshop up and running will cover much of the terrain of the standards for second grade, from foundational skills, to speaking and listening skills, to reading literature skills. That said, the work of this unit focuses especially on three major standards. First, students will work towards comprehension by reading with both accuracy and fluency (RF 2.4). As part of this, they will read on their own with purpose and read aloud with appropriate expression, and they will confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding. The second major standard addressed in this unit, RL 2.2, spotlights the ability to recall stories and identify messages. Specifically, students will read stories from an array of cultures, and will retell these with an angle toward identifying and discussing their central messages. Finally, this unit is designed to support students as they decode words with phonics and analysis skills (RF 2.3). Students will begin with one-syllable words, identifying long and short vowel sounds, and regularly spelled two-syllable words. They will be asked to recognize common prefixes and suffixes as well as common sound correspondences in order to accurately decode words both regularly and irregularly spelled. Getting Ready Put out a variety of high-interest fiction and information books in bins or baggies that span your students current just-right levels based on end of first grade reading assessments, as well as a few levels higher (or book baggies sent up from first grade). Put out reading logs, Post-its, and personalized bookmarks for each child. Prepare individual or partner bins or baggies and individual take-home book baggies. Have some reading charts from first grade that review strategies and routines, plus some chart paper to make new second grade strategy, stamina, and routine charts.
4 4 Assessment We recommend that you do a couple of assessments throughout this first unit to get the year off to a strong start. Because your students are second graders, many will come with assessments from first grade. To get to know your students well, you will want to conduct a few different types of assessments across your unit as well as across the year. In addition to these assessments, we suggest conducting formative assessments across each bend of your unit of study as well as additional assessments that can support you in making curricular decisions for reading workshop or even word study time. Formative assessments include conferring one-to-one, table conferences with groups of kids, collecting reading logs and thinking about next steps for your class, and collecting any writing about reading your children do to think about next steps for them. The first assessment that we recommend is an informal running record to be conducted during the first few days of school. For years, we ve recommended that at the end of each school year, teachers from the preceding grade compile a bin or bag of books at each child s just-right reading level and then pass that on to teachers at the new grade level. This way, teachers can effortlessly help students pick up right where they left off. If you do not have baggies or bins from last year s teachers, instead use last year s reading levels to channel your new students towards books that will be approximately right for them. For now, sit clusters of children around tubs of those books, plus some easier ones. On a piece of paper, record with check marks each word that the child you are assessing reads accurately. Write down the ones that the child miscues. Then ask a couple of comprehension questions about the text. Getting this approximate level will help facilitate more formal running records, later in the unit. Running records: You can wait til mid-way or towards the end of the unit to do these The second form of assessment we suggest you conduct is running records. You may decide to wait until the end of the unit so that students have a chance to warm up and to resume reading where they left off last year. Waiting also gives you an opportunity to get a better grasp on where their just right book level is first, before giving them a running record that will be at the instructional level. Be aware that some teachers assess just until the child reads a book with 95% accuracy, fluency and comprehension and then stop assessing, saying, I ve reached the child s level. You won t know if you have reached the maximum level unless you keep going beyond that point, assessing a higher level. Perhaps the child is okay at that next level as well. You won t know until you try.
5 5 Once you ve assessed a child, you will know what skills to work on to move that reader forward and up to the next level. Establishing a few goals will be supportive not only for this current unit, but for the ones that come next. If a child seems almost at that next level, you might suggest she move into a mixed baggie, with some books that are easy, and some that are the next level up, and just a wee bit hard. If children see themselves making progress early in the year, they ll come to expect that this will be a year when their reading takes off. Spelling Inventory to inform phonics and spelling work across the unit and the year The third and final assessment we recommend before unit two begins is a spelling inventory. This will take about 30 minutes in your day to administer; but you can learn a tremendous amount from it about how to establish your phonics small groups, what things to teach in phonics and spelling during word study, shared reading, and reading and writing workshop. The spelling inventory can be found in the book Words Their Way (Bear et al. 2008), along with spelling and phonics lessons that match the learner s spelling stage. You can decide when it feels best to administer this assessment. Again, you might use your word study time, early in the first week to conduct the spelling inventory. This way you have time to analyze and divide students up into small groups that will help you teach into some of these features of phonics, early in the school year. Assessing readers who are below benchmark level in September (Levels H and below) Even during the first week of school, you ll want to pay special attention to readers who, according to last year s data, are below grade level. While formal assessment can wait until later for most of your class, you will want to get a jump start on attending to your most vulnerable readers. Right away you will want to take formal running records with your struggling readers so that you get these children into just right books immediately. Running records alone won t tell you the source of their difficulty so you will also assess their knowledge of high-frequency words, conduct a spelling inventory, and evaluate their ability to match letters with sounds. All of these assessments except the spelling inventory are available on the RWP s website ( Ideally, you can draw on the support of a school reading specialist or literacy coach to help you administer these assessments and devise plans for each at-risk reader. Certainly if a youngster is receiving additional help, you will want to be sure that help is coordinated with the help the child receives in your class.
6 6 If you have time and need more information: Building a Reading Life Learning Progression Your goals for this unit will, to a large extent, involve your second graders reading habits. The RWP s Building a Reading Life Learning Progression (located in the appendix to this unit) can guide your class s progress towards engaged reading. You can turn this learning progression into rubrics and charts that your children can use to self-assess their habits as readers. If you decide to use that learning progression, then we recommend that you conduct a quick initial assessment on one of the first days of your reading workshop. If you have made a grid on which you list the names of your students down the side of a page and list the features from the Building a Reading Life Learning Progression across the top of the page, you can collect information now and again at the end of the unit on this paper. Occasionally stop teaching to do a quick status-of-the-class survey and use that method to record things like the approximate amount of time kids sustain reading independently, the kids who are jotting on Post-its, those who finish one book and start another, on their own. By seeing where the class falls in this learning progression, you ll have help making instructional plans for next steps. Perhaps in the middle of the unit and certainly towards the end of it, you will want to again pause periodically during one day s reading time, doing another quick survey, noting the same behaviors, and this summative assessment will allow you to see and note increased work habits and independence during reading workshop time. Above all, make this survey public and enlist kids help in the endeavor to reach for higher goals. Bend I: Making Reading the Best It Can Be: Setting Goals for the New Year Goal Setting: Building Volume, Stamina, Fluency The first few days of school matter enormously, as they set the tone for the rest of the year. Right from the start, you ll want children to read with great gusto whatever books they can. If they are to make major headway in reading this year, they ll need, first and foremost to read a lot. Don t expect too much from them (or from yourself) initially other than that. Let them read books that are a bit easy, and are, above all, high interest. Give them a chance to do the best they can while you get a lay of the land: Who makes up this new class of second graders? What are their reading likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses?
7 7 Which kids can you identify right away as needing extra attention? Establish workshop routines, behaviors and short term partnerships Meanwhile, establish the routines and independent problem-solving behavior that will allow your students to sustain reading. In order to become great readers, children need to come and go quickly from the rug, settle down to work right away, not bother each other, and so forth. Until you have been able to do running records on children, any partnerships will need to be short term ones, based on whatever information you have from last year. Some teachers send up book baggies from first grade, so that kids can start the first week of second grade rereading some of their favorite books from the year before and so that second grade teachers have a sense of what their new class of students can read. Alternatively, you might channel clusters of children to sit around this or that bin of books that are roughly matched to the levels those children are reading and then you can watch relationships and reading levels as children work alongside others who are potential partners for them. Once you have assessed a child, you can graduate him or her to an individual bin or baggie and set that child up with a longer term partner who can read the same kinds of books. This doesn t mean that children won t talk and read to each other from the start they will. But you won t refer to these relationships as partnerships just yet. Throughout this bend, students will share their goals, as well as the strategies that are helping them read a lot of pages and books for long periods of time, with expression and ease. Welcome students to the second grade reading workshop with an announcement: this year, they ll set bigger reading goals To introduce this unit and the second grade reading workshop in general, announce to your students that this is the year they become big kids: As big kids, you are able to find ways to push yourself to do a whole lot of reading. When you were little kids, teachers and parents told you how many books to read and for how long, but you aren t little kids anymore you are second graders! And second graders don t need to be told how to set up their reading lives. Very quickly, then, set children to the task of finding books they can read: To read more, you need tubs and book baggies filled with books that you want to read each one of you is set up with these. Then name the teaching point: Today I want to teach you that grown up readers set specific goals for themselves so that they will become stronger. They might aim to read a certain number of books in a few days or to read a certain amount at school and at home each day, or to Today I want to teach you that grown up readers set specific goals for themselves so that they will become stronger. They might aim to read a certain number of books in a few days or to read a certain amount at school and at home each day, or to read a whole series of books or kinds of books.
8 8 read a whole series of books or kinds of books. During the teaching portion of this first lesson, share and model a couple of simple ways children can push themselves to read more, emphasizing that they ll each need to find their own system, setting their own goals for how much reading they can do in school and at home. The students in your class can then set individual goals, such as, I am going to read these three books! or I am going to get through two chapters in school today! You might say to kids, If our buzzer hasn t gone off, but you have already met your goal, what new goal could you set? Kids might suggest that they could reread a book, or read on and pick a new book in their bin to read. On this first day your main hope is that students feel energized and excited to dive into books, that they enjoy the books they select, and that they feel the ease of reading once again. The goals you assume aloud that your students will choose make the world of difference. If children start the year aiming to read for thirty minutes a day in school and equal time at home, they will be poised to make significant strides as readers, and you will be freed to lead small groups and to work with individuals. As you work with small groups of readers at one level or another, help those children transition from time goals to page goals that reflect the approximate level of text complexity they are handling. For example, the child reading Level N chapter books likely won t complete even one book within half an hour, while the child reading level J will be able to read a few books within that same timeframe. The J level child will read about 85 words a minute. In other words, this child will be able to finish a thousand-word book such as James Marshall s Fox in Love in about twelve minutes! (See appendix for a chart from Developmental Reading Assessment for more details on level J, K, L, and M readers.) Keep an eye out for any students whose goals fall below or above what may seem realistic and steer these kids toward more appropriate goals: I bet you could read ten more pages, don t you? Remember, readers push themselves, you might say to the child whose expectations are too low. Or, to the overly ambitious child: Wow, that big book seems like a lot to read in thirty minutes! How about you say four chapters, and see how that goes? You want to fully understand what you re reading, right? Support students in taking charge of and reaching their reading goals: volume and stamina By the third or fourth day in bend one, you might steer readers to track the amount of reading they are doing. If your class of second graders is reading level J and above, they can keep reading logs that include a space to record the author, title, and level of each book read, the start and end pages, and the start and end times. If the majority of children in your class are not yet reading level J books, each child can simply tally the number of books
9 9 he or she has read or reread (and you, meanwhile, will have some catching up to do). During reading conferences, you can guide kids to use their logs or tally marks to set new goals and track their progress. As students begin to track how much they are reading, they can set more realistic goals all on their own. You might ask students who are meeting their goals to share the strategies they have used perhaps these will inspire other kids in the class! One student might choose books that have to do with a particular topic, I want to read four books about frogs, where another student might choose books in a series, I love to read Iris and Walter books. I want to try to read two of those in a day and finish the series by the end of the week! Some students may have plans for rereading their books, I am going to try and read each book three times so that each time I read it, it gets smoother and I don t trip over any words. That way, I can read it to my mom at home. Notice that these goals aren t just about volume; they are about being engaged with the text. This is akin to the sort of goals children made in first grade and they are smart lifelong reading goals. When a reader is invested in a kind of book, he will tend to read more books in that category, for longer stretches of time. Chances are most of your class can read for at least thirty minutes, privately. Whereas first graders tended to sit hip to hip with a partner and to take turns reading aloud to each other, second graders can usually read silently, alone, using partners as talk-partners only, for after reading. And yet, you may find that you need to do some work though around stamina to help kids stay engaged during the entire reading time. Early in the year, especially, when some readers stamina is not yet strong, you might engineer things so that some kids (presumably those reading below level J) read sitting hip to hip with a partner, taking turns reading aloud, and then after a few minutes, shift into private reading time. A few of your lessons may spotlight how to stay in a book, resisting the distractions of surrounding people or things. One way readers do this is by focusing on the picture in their mind as they read; they picture what is happening or what the information on the page is teaching, to get a clear idea of what is going on. Another tactic is to play a guessing game while reading. You might say, When I feel like I am drifting out of my book, I reread the page and guess what is going to happen next! This helps me be sure that I am paying attention to what is happening in my book. In order to support children s stamina for reading, circulate among students, coaching with short prompts: Try not to stop reading so often read on, read on. Picture what is happening. It should feel like you are watching a movie, as you read. If you get stuck, don t just sit there! Give the word your best try and keep going. Al went straight from reading one book to the next! He didn t stop and wait for me to Today I want to teach you that readers have tricks for keeping themselves in a book, even when things around them are distracting. One trick is to focus on the picture that forms in your mind as you read. Another trick is to play a guessing game with yourself. As you read, you can keep guessing what will happen next. Then you can read to check if you were right."
10 10 guide him he just did it! Channel students to make plans and space for at-home reading and to reflect on their progress After a few days of ambitious goal setting and tracking, talk up the importance of taking books home to continue this sort of reading. Children might imagine and set up a particular place for their at-home reading that they then capture in a drawing. Make this into a big deal. The day books first go home, be sure it is the last thing you discuss as children go out the door and the first thing you discuss when they return the next morning. Establish systems of taking books between home and school. Children can leave their logs at school, taking time at the very start of the school day (or of the reading workshop) to tell each other about the reading they did at home and to chart that work in their logs. By making athome-reading-talk a ritual, you increase the chances that it will in fact happen, and children are more likely to remember to carry books between home and school. Once children are in the habit of bringing books between school and home, reading in both places, and recording their volume of reading in some sort of log, you can help them reflect on their progress. You might ask them to consider questions such as: What do you notice about how many books/pages you tend to read in school? At home? (In general, your hope is that these are somewhat aligned to each other.) Do you notice times when you didn t do much reading? What do you think caused those times? How could you make a goal for yourself about how much to read based on what you see here? Challenge children to read not just a lot of books, over long periods of time, but also to read with a smooth voice and with expression Reading fluency is an important part of the CCSS Reading Foundational Skills and reading researchers agree with the CCSS that second grade is the grade to prioritize fluency instruction. Prioritizing fluency does not mean prioritizing speed. Fluency includes prosody reading with the intonation that reflects comprehension. Standard RF 2.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension includes three subcategories that reinforce the relationship between fluency and comprehension. It is important for your students to know that readers goals aren t just about for how long or how much they read, but also about how well they read. Teach them that readers who pay attention to how their reading sounds often are able to understand their books better as well as to help "Today I want to teach you that readers pay attention not only to how long or how much they read, but also to how well they read. They make sure that their reading sounds smooth, not choppy, and that their voices are full of expression."
11 11 others understand their books. As students move up reading levels, they will work on reading small groups of words in 3- to 4-word phrases, rather than reading word by word. Remind them how this sounds and looks as they read. Their reading should sound smooth, not choppy, and their voices should be full of expression. One of the main ways to help second graders become more fluent is to make sure they have left behind the early reading behaviors that are no longer helpful. For example, remind children not to point at each word as they read; pointing interferes with reading rate and expression. Rather, they can use their eyes to track words and phrases. Remind children who read at or above J/K (the benchmark for this time of year) to read silently unless they encounter difficulty, and to take their finger out of the book. You might say, Readers, now that you are in second grade, you are ready to leave some first grade reading habits behind. These include reading like this (and mimic a child touching each word as he or she reads it.) According to Marie Clay, founder of Reading Recovery, far too many children point under the print as they read and mouth the words quietly. If a second grader has trouble tracking, it is almost certain that he or she is in a book that is too difficult. If for some reason you don t want to move the child to an easier book, or if you find that even in an easy book, the child needs help tracking, show her how to run her finger down the edge of the page, rather than under each line. Using a card or a piece of paper under the lines of print makes it hard for the child to see ahead, which is imperative for fluent reading. One important way for a reader to ramp up his or her fluency is to reread, and of course an emphasis on the power of rereading aligns well to the current emphasis on close reading of complex texts (even though children will certainly not yet be working in complex texts). You can teach children that readers sometimes set goals for themselves to work on reading aloud well, in ways that show what the story is about, and then you can teach children that even when they read silently, they can still read with inflection, with intonation in short, with comprehension. Help kids reread short books or parts of a book repeatedly until they are able to read smoothly, and in ways that bring the story to life. (RL 2.2). Some students may make fluency goals as they are reading a small section of a text. Teach them that when readers work hard in a particular part of the text, trying to figure out a word, they sometimes lose what that part is really saying. Going back and rereading that part, trying to smooth out the sentences can help readers better listen to what that part is about. You can also teach them to set goals around reading like a storyteller (fiction) and reading like a teacher (information) by paying more careful attention to punctuation. "Today I want to teach you that when readers are reading a section and it sounds odd, they can reread that part to make it sound right, using their voice to sound like a storyteller, if they're reading fiction, or like a teacher, if they're reading an information book."
12 12 You may give students time to discuss with a partner what each one did to read more smoothly. Kids can share the parts they worked on, as well as the strategies that helped them read more smoothly. Bend II: Reading to Retell and Recommend Books to a Partner Retelling and Monitoring for Sense In the second bend of the unit, students will continue to take charge of their reading, now with a focus on sharing books they love especially new books they select with a partner. Your first job, then, will be to match readers to partners, and to set each child up with an individual or partner bin or baggie of books. Children can help select books for those bins or baggies, using whatever color code you have for guidance. In most instances, the fact that you establish partners will reflect that you have assessed your students. Partnerships will be based not only on children s reading levels, but also on their reading interests, the language needs of your ELLs, and their personalities. There are many reasons it is important for children to read aloud and talk aloud with others. For starts, when they do so it provides you a glimpse of each child s reading without the formality of conducting a running record you can listen to a child read aloud a half a page, and begin to develop a sense of the reader. Then, too, the invitation to read aloud is an invitation to be actively engaged, and children will need that invitation, especially early in the year. Of course, your main goal for this unit will be that students understand the books they read. One measure of that is whether they can successfully retell books to their partners. Invite children to select and share books they love and to talk and think about these Children are far more likely to comprehend and recall a text they are invested in, so you might begin the bend by encouraging them to choose books they love. Then encourage them to pay close attention to what their books are about so that they are ready to share and possibly exchange books they find interesting or that they just love. You might say, When readers want to recommend books to one another and find great books to share, they need to know those books really well and be ready to talk to their partner about them. Here it s important to remind students to think about the text as they read. Some students tendency is to just call out the words, not pausing to think about what is happening in a book, or what they are learning from it. When they reach the end, then, they have a harder
13 13 time retelling the important parts. Teach students that it s wise to read a few pages or parts and then stop and ask, What is this teaching? or What is happening here? Teach them that readers also pause, while reading, to answer questions about the text. This will help them monitor for meaning and clarify any confusions along the way. As students understand more in their texts, they should be able to pose and answer inferential questions, like Why? or How? (Standard 2.1 for literature and informational reading). Remind them, too, that partners don t show up unprepared empty handed. They bring their understanding of the most important events or information in a book, and what thoughts it triggered, to share. Active participation in collaborative conversations is essential to second grade reading work and of course, it will be increasingly integral to classroom work as children move up in grades. As the bend unfolds: possible minilesson and partnership ideas "Today I want to teach you that as they read, readers always need to be thinking about what is happening and what they are learning. They can t just say the words; they have to really think about what the words are telling them. One way to do this is to read just a bit (a few sentences, a page, or a few pages) and then to stop and ask, What is this teaching? or What is happening here?." "Today I want to teach you that readers pause to ask themselves questions about the text in order to clarify any confusion or think more meaningfully about the text. They might ask themselves, 'Why' or 'How?' " When possible, base your minilessons on the work that kids are already doing they ll feel more independent, as if they are learning from one another as well as from you. For example, you might recruit one child to insert a couple of stop and think Post-it s into the middle of a text he is just starting to read as a way to remind himself to monitor for comprehension, then teach other groups or even your whole class that they, too, might decide to do this. Then teach children that as readers they are in charge of finding parts to post-it that feel important to share parts that especially stand out to them: a particularly funny part a surprising part a part that cites information that is especially important to the story or the topic Alternatively, you could pose the question to your students: what things do they deem important to mark up and share? Some students might say to mark important things that are happening; others might say important information that connects with other parts of the book or with readers lives. Be mindful of how you word your teaching so that children focus on parts of a book or things about the book that will hook the listening partner. This kind of thinking should lead to retelling and sharing that is a book recommendation, so children should share something that will convince a partner to read the book. But how do you know that you are ready to share? you might say to your kids. Just because you ve come to the end of the book doesn t mean you are necessarily ready to retell and recommend the book. So it s important to know what you can do to make sure
14 14 you are ready. Then teach your students that readers do a quick retell to themselves, to see whether they remember all the parts of the book, and whether they have marked important parts as well as reasons why someone else should read the book. Many students will find they forgot a few parts. Tell them not to fret! That s one reason to reread! You ll want to emphasize that partners get ready to talk; they don t show up empty handed! You could teach children that readers get ready to retell books by rereading and post-iting parts that they find inspiring or interesting. They might also mark parts that show what the book is about. In a story, these would be the big events that happen for the character. In an informational text, these would include the major points that will help the listener learn about the topic. If they haven t marked up enough parts to do this, they can reread to do that now. You might follow up this work with some small group work aimed at helping students connect parts of the text. Remind them that partners can think about a text by discussing how the parts fit together; how does the beginning introduce information that repeats over the text? How does the end connect back to the beginning? (RL.2.5) Today I want to teach you that partners don t just show up unprepared they get ready to retell and talk about their books by having ideas while they read, and by marking the places in their books that inspire them to think. The parts they mark could be the important parts like big events for characters, or important information that helps capture what an author is trying to teach." "Today I want to teach you that partners can think about a book by discussing how the parts fit together. They might ask, 'How does the beginning introduce information that repeats over the book? How does the end connect back to the beginning?'" Channel your second-grade partnerships to use their conversationtime not only as an opportunity to retell what they have read, but also as a time to reread parts of their books to each other, perhaps letting the rereading spark a conversation, as a continuation of the earlier fluency work. Because those who are not yet reading at grade level will especially benefit from taking turns reading to each other, you could pull together a small group of children who read at easier levels and teach them that they can read together during partner time, taking turns on pages, echo reading, even choral reading. This extends the amount of time these children are actually reading, provides built-in support for those who struggle with reading and are likely to become disengaged, and supports fluency. Teach students that to do this sort of sharing with a partner, it works best to read for a while say fifteen minutes, or a few chapters and then, after a bit, to pause in order to recall, rethink and retell the main events that have occurred thus far (in a story), or the main bits of information they ve learned up to this point (in an informational text). Sometimes it helps to retell the text by literally paging through the pages, skimming them so as to ascertain the main events (or information) that happened on those pages.
15 15 Then you can set them up to recommend (and possibly swap) their books so that they not only talk about the content of their books, but also about why they like them. Today I want to teach you that when readers find a book they especially enjoy, they check that they ve understood the book by telling another reader all about the main parts of it. As readers share their books, they might tuck in reasons the other reader might enjoy it, too. That is, you ll spotlight a very important reason for sharing a book to get other kids to read it! so that students understand the purpose behind this activity. You ll also want to emphasize that partners stay on a topic for a while, lingering with that topic so that they can talk about it with some depth before moving on to another topic: Readers, today I want to teach you that partners talk about a single topic for as long as they can in order to think deeply and meaningfully about one aspect of their reading experience. In a mid-workshop teaching point, you could offer the tip to partners to put a Post-it between them that describes the topic of their talk as a reminder to talk as long as they can about that one topic before moving on to a new one. Today I want to teach you that when readers find a book they especially enjoy, they check that they ve understood the book by telling another reader all about the main parts of it. As readers share their books, they might tuck in reasons the other reader might enjoy it, too. Readers, today I want to teach you that partners talk about a single topic or idea for as long as they can in order to push their thinking and grow big ideas. Remember, when partners want to talk long, they can ask and answer questions together. They can even come up with theories about why things might be, by using the words, Maybe or I think. Recall the routines, skills, and reading work that factor into partner conversations Throughout the unit, you may want to use mid-workshop or share teaching points to remind kids of some of the active listening and basic partnership routines they already know from first-grade reading workshop: partners sit shoulder to shoulder, with one book in the middle; they listen carefully and ask clarifying questions when they aren t sure what their partner means; they compliment each other on the strategies they tried during reading workshop. Partners also keep each other on track; they point out when something feels off topic, and they make sure when retelling a book or a portion of a book, that they don t simply use words from the book; they also add their thinking. Teach kids that as they listen to their partner s retelling and recommendation they should come up with questions about the book, both to clarify information and to prepare themselves if in they intend to read the book next. If students end up swapping books, when they get together in the next couple days, they can then compare their thoughts and feelings about it. Use interactive read aloud sessions to reinforce the work of this bend Your interactive read aloud sessions will offer additional support for the retelling work of this unit. How you use this component of the day will depend, to some degree, on how
16 16 much of an emphasis the first grades in your school give to that important structure, and to your own discoveries during the interactive read aloud sessions you have been leading. Use both as data. Above all, you ll use the current read aloud time to model how to talk about books in ways that support comprehension and engagement. It is also important that you support children s conversations within larger groups. We recommend leading whole-class conversations several times a week. These conversations are not only a key method for teaching comprehension, they are also a critical teaching opportunity for speaking and listening (CCSS SL 2.1a-c). You ll want to engage your students in this forum right away. After an initial read aloud, say, Who can get us started in a conversation about? Call on several children to respond. As you do this, watch for instances when children do the sorts of things other kids will benefit from doing too. If a child says, I think because and then refers to the text, say: You already know that it is important to back up your ideas by saying, I think this because and then referring to the text. You re just starting second grade and already you know that! When one child adds or talks back to what another child has said (SL 2.1b) or asks a classmate to say more (SL 2.1c), spotlight these actions, too. Of course, if children do none of these things, you ll need to decide how to initiate these sorts of talking and listening behaviors. Bend III: Thinking Harder, Working Harder and Perhaps Reading Harder Books Moving up Bands of Text Difficulty We were tempted to name this unit, Reading Harder Books but of course it is unlikely that a whole class can move to harder books at this precise time. It is the case, though, that usually, after kids have been back in schools for a few weeks, they can move up a level. The TCRWP has records that reflect when teachers assess readers, and what we see from those records is that too often, teachers assess only around parent-teacher conferences and report cards. Often students can fly through the low levels of text complexity, and the one thing holding them back is that a teacher isn t taking stock often enough. Try this. Carry around some books that are a notch up, perhaps books from an especially enticing series, give a strong book introduction and read the first few pages aloud. Then see what the child can do with the next portion of that book. Can she read it with some fluency, some intonation that suggests she grasps the gist of it? Your worry should not be so much whether the child gets stuck on a word or two. Rather, are those stuck places derailing the child s reading, leading the child to lose a grip on the meaning? If so, don t move her up. But do make an appointment with her to assess again in a week or so, and meanwhile ramp up the amount of books she is reading.
17 17 Support students as they make strides toward moving up the text levels You may find that some of your students are almost ready to move, but not quite. With some supports and scaffolds they can handle texts in the next level. This may mean that some of your students may have book baggies with some mix of levels inside for a short time. These texts will need some extra scaffolding a book introduction from a teacher or student, a few rereads in a row, some extra partnership word solving or conversation about the text. In this next bend, be on the lookout for kids ready to move as well as those almost ready to move to support them in reading more complex texts. As books get harder and longer, many offer more supports to the reader, such as a wholebook summary on the back of the book and/or chapter titles in a table of contents. Your students can use these supports to orient themselves to the contents of the book. Students will also find the following in harder texts: more text and less picture support longer words more challenging vocabulary more complex plots Students will need to work a bit to understand what their book is about, to solve known and unknown words, and to figure out parts that at first don t make sense. Start by simply putting up problemsolving charts from last year to remind children of what they can try when they hit trouble. Then remind them that they are resourceful problem-solvers, and remind them of the ways they know to handle difficulty. Today, I want to remind you of something you already know: when what you read doesn't make sense, you can ask yourself, What could I do to fix this part? What can I do to try to understand what this text is saying? Then you can look at the strategies you know on the charts all around the room and try the most helpful ones. Encourage students to check in with themselves, monitoring for sense and meaning, and to be independent problem solvers As students read more complex texts they should check in with themselves more frequently to make sure that they understand what the text is saying. Remind them how to monitor for sense by asking, What is going on so far? or What s happening in this part? When they ve lost their place or lost track of what s happening, they can reread to reorient themselves to the book. One of the most essential skills to teach your students is that when readers hit a hard word, a bump in the road, they don t pretend they didn t see that hard word and just mumble past it. Instead, they take note and then tackle it.
18 18 A word to the wise. Resist encouraging children to raise their hands when they are stuck or, worse, to get up and seek out your help. One of the most important messages you ll convey in the unit is that it s far more worthwhile for students to attempt to figure things out on their own than to always be right: Now that you re reading harder, longer books, sometimes you ll come to a word you don t know. Today I want to teach you that when this happens, you ll need to work a little to figure it out. You can stop and think quickly, What could I do to figure out this word? Then you can choose from your repertoire of word solving strategies to determine the word s meaning, doing the best you can. Now that you re reading harder, longer books, sometimes you ll come to a word you don t know. Today I want to teach you that when this happens, you ll need to work a little to figure it out. You can stop and think quickly, What could I do to figure out this word? Then you can choose from your repertoire of word solving strategies to determine the word s meaning, doing the best you can. Work with small groups to offer guided practice You may decide to pull small groups of students together to coach and provide some guided practice in their books. Teach your students to think about what the book is saying, what it is about, then reread to get a running start. When they get to the letters, they can read the first bit of the word, and think, What might the rest of this word be? They may have to make a second running start thinking about the whole page, rereading the line, putting the first bit of the word in there, and thinking, What would make sense? What goes with the next letters? Teach children strategies for noticing and tackling hard words Once you ve gotten kids to at least approximate the big work of noticing and tackling hard words, you ll want to zoom in a bit and equip them with specific strategies for doing this. Use your information from your running records as data in hand when planning for what will best support your readers to help tackle tricky words or parts. Here, the important thing to realize (and to teach children) is that readers do not rigidly tackle every word by starting at the left side of the word and progressing along letter by letter, sounding the word out. Efficient readers are more apt to move across a word, working with word parts. This means that when your children come to a hard word, they should try looking at the first few letters of the word, thinking of words they already know that have parts like that. Demonstrate this by looking, for example, at the word umbrella and saying, I m looking at the first part of this word. /Um/ that looks like a part of words I ve read. /Um/. Let s see, what s the next part? Pointing to brel you might say, What could that say? Let s put those two parts together, thinking about what s happening in the story and then let s think about what this word might be. When children tackle a word and don t know what it says, they won t necessarily break it apart into its correct syllables. You might simplify this for them at first by emphasizing multi-syllabic and compound words (e.g., schoolbag), encouraging