How do we truly ensure high learning expectations for our readers?
After two weeks with friends on a twitter book chat #wrrdchat, discussing What Readers Really Do by Barnhouse and Vinton (@VickiVintonTMAP), I must confess that I do need to return to a classroom and work with students. The whole process of making meaning from written symbols is simple for some students, but oh, so confusing for others.
Confusion could come from the words – long or short – many words have multiple meanings and then only the surrounding words in the sentence or paragraph can truly help tease out the specific meaning. Confusion could also arise from the lack of pictures as students move through the grades and the levels. Or it could simply be that reading is HARD work!
My journey this summer has included #tcwrp Writing and Reading Institutes. It has also included book studies for Notice and Note, Teach Like a Pirate and as previously noted, What Readers Really Do. I will admit, I have struggled this summer as I have heard and now BELIEVE that students must do the work of understanding. I cannot and dare not rush in and rescue them! True understanding of text only comes from “grappling with it.”
So on with it! Get to the point!
How do I use a “Know and Wonder Chart” to help students understand?
I will begin with the text Walk Two Moons brought to my attention by a Barbara O’Connor blog here. Then I will build a Know – Wonder Chart based on the “setup” to look for patterns. Here is what my chart looked like in its first draft.
In the “setup” I have learned a lot about Sal in the first two pages of this book. I know she is a country girl and her name is Sal. Her dad is in the story as is “a lady” named “Margaret” with “wild red hair.” I was wondering about the main character’s name each time I generated questions.
As the first two pages end, I am still wondering about:
when does this story take place (no clues yet in clothes or transportation),
what is the story? (hunch= life in the city with Margaret?) and
my biggest “wonder” is “Where is Sal’s mom?.
I am going to have to keep reading to find out more about the “setup” (who, what, where, when, etc.) but also to find out if any of my hunches “come true. I will also be looking for patterns where the author tells me or sets me up to discover the meaning that is hidden in the words.
How will I assess this “Know and Wonder” work with students?
My formative quick check at mid-workshop interruption will be: “Thumbs up if you have jotted down an idea from your reading. Point to head if you added to “wonder.” Tap finger on your shoulder if you have added to or found a new pattern.” (Some use of visual/gestures would give me a quick look at status of class.) Students could also add other ideas to “self-assess” in their book clubs if you are using them.
I am leaning towards a “star” system to begin with because I have literally seen high school students beg for a star before! The star would go in the Reader’s Notebook. I love how #tcrwp folks use writing continua so I am also thinking about what that might look like but I want to be careful to make it be about quality factors and not just “things I can count.”
In the beginning, I believe that any student who adds to their chart in terms of “know, wonder, or arrows/comments for patterns” will earn a star. It is the beginning of the book. The assessment will evolve!
The assessment process – When students do this thinking in jotted notes in their Reader’s Notebook, they will be meeting the standards of CCSS and exceeding them. No bubble tests required!
How would you assess “Know and Wonder” charts? What has worked for you?
Circling back to the beginning:
I have learned during this study of What Readers Really Do is that my reading is really from the “inside out!” Thank you @Teamhanrahan62 for that idea. I have also learned that this work is hard and the reader must be trusted to do the work (@VickiVintonTMAP)! (And I apologize in advance because I will not remember everyone from the chat in this post!) From my #wrrdchat mate @brettelockyer I have learned new vocabulary as well as the value of a conversation around a text for deeper learning. Thank you for the mention of this book in NYC @azajacks and special thanks to @rscalateach for developing and implementing a book study plan! Reading a blog from a voracious summer reader, @jarhartz, who wrote about “Yet” – and commented on an old post of mine yesterday, the idea of this post was born. Thank you all, #wrrdchat mates, this study has been a wonderful summer learning opportunity!