The English Classroom

A HELPFUL GUIDE FOR PRESERVICE TEACHERS

The Situation

Your want your students to utilise a variety of different reading strategies.


The Solution

When reading a text, it is important that students are given the chance to reflect before, during and after reading. This allows students to maximise their digestion of the story.

Although this can be classified as reading strategy, I am going to step this section out as a reading activity for you use in the classroom.

Through this activity, you can combine a variety of different aspects to your teaching. For example:

My caveat to this section is that you know where you want your learning to go. Backwards map is an essential part of the lesson design process. Discussions around the narrative can become infinite and may allow students to take a deep-dive, and it is important that what students should be able to do, know and/or understand at the end of the lesson.


Before Reading

An important aspect to Before Reading is question. Questioning helps you find information and focuses your attention on what’s important in the text. Prior to reading, encourage students to pose questions about the text. It might be:

  • What does the title of the story/novel tell you about what might happen?
  • What predictions can you make about the narrative?

Encourage a discussion where students share and make predictions about the narrative based on textual elements (Look at the cover, the possible genre and the types of writing that the author has previously published).


During Reading

During the reading of the text, cyclically stop students to discuss aspects of narrative conventions. This is a great way to check for understanding, especially if it is a lengthy text. Use questions stems and bloom’s taxonomy to help guide with this section of the activity. For example, I may choose to use knowledge or understanding question, such as:

  • How would describe…
  • How do you interpret…

However, you may also choose to use more higher questions that fall under synthesising and evaluating:

  • What would you do if you were in a similar situation to…
  • What information would you use to support…

These questions stem will be a godsend when guiding what type of thinking you would like students to use.


After Reading

After students have read the narrative, it is time to reflect on broader ideas. Again, this really comes down to what type of narrative convention or language feature you might like to analyse and discuss. Before you dig too deep, it might be good to just focus on getting students to share their initial reactions to the narrative. For example:

  • How does the narrative make you feel about…
  • What changes did the characters experience make throughout the narrative?
  • What is the author attempt to communicate to the reader?
  • How might the author’s personal experiences impacted his/her writing of the text?


This should function as a guiding point for where you want student learning to go.

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