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Chapter 6  Activities

Page history last edited by Richard Beach 5 months ago

What Does Reading Well Look Like? EdSurge 

 

Learning to Read Closely. Open Education Resources

 

How to Lead Students to Engage in Higher Order Thinking 

 

Designing Digital Interactive Reading Guides

 

IDENTIFYING READING STRATEGIES IN THINK-ALOUD RESPONSE TO A TEXT

 

Select a short text—a poem or a section of a story or novel—and do a think-aloud activity with a partner, sharing your thoughts with the partner, who simply provides encouraging prompts.  Then, reflect with your partner on the kinds of reading strategies that you employed in doing the think aloud, as well as the prior knowledge or schema you drew on in reading the text.  Then, reverse roles and have your partner do a think-aloud and reflection on the strategies employed.  Then, based on the strategies you and your partner employed, devise some activities for fostering students’ use of these strategies. 

 

IDENTIFYING CUES SIGNALING THE USE OF STRATEGIES 

 

Read a poem, short essay, short story, and a one-act play.  Then, identify the strategies you are employing in reading these different texts and how these strategies differ according to each of these different genres.  Then, for these different strategies, identify those cues in a text specific to a certain genre that invite you to employ certain strategies, for example, the use of titles in a poem that invite you to infer the theme of a poem.  Describe how these cues are designed to achieve audience identification with the position, cause, or idea being proposed.   To what degree does the writer succeed in gaining audience identification?

 

DEVELOPING FRONTLOADING ACTIVITIES FOR TEACHING STRATEGIES

 

Select a text that you might teach in student teaching.  As you are reading the text, identify the strategies you are employing in comprehending the text unique to the genre of that text.  .  Then, develop some frontloading activities for modeling or scaffolding the use of these strategies consistent with your students’ ZPD.  Describe how you will model or scaffold the use of strategies, how you will then have students practice the use of these strategies, and how you will know that they have successfully learned to employ these strategies.

 

SELECTING TOOLS FOR TEACHING STRATEGIES 

 

Select a poem that you would teach in your student teaching.  Re-read the poem several times and reflect on those strategies you’re using in responding to the poem.   Focus particularly on parts of the poem that may be particularly difficult for students.  Then, for each strategy, identify some specific write, talk, art-work, or drama tools that you could use to help students employ these different strategies.

 

For example, you could have students free write responses to specific parts of the poem to help them develop the meaning of figurative language.  Or, to have them define intertextual connections, you could have them free write about another text the poem reminds them of and then create spider maps with key concepts from the poem and the other text as central circles and lines out from the circles representing specific meanings for these concepts.  Then can then draw lines between the poem map and the other text map for use in determine similarities between the poem and the other text.  They could then formulate their interpretation of the poem based on these connections.

 

Once you’ve selected some tasks based on different tools, determine an appropriate order for the tasks, “first-things-first,” so that each task serves to prepare students for the next task.  For example, the freewriting served to prepare students for the mapping.  Consider also whether you’ll need to provide students with modeling for different tasks.  Then, create an assignment based on your sequence of tasks.

 

MAKING INTERTEXTUAL CONNECTIONS 

 

In devising mythology, fantasy, or science-fiction units, you need to encourage students to learn to define their own connections between texts in an inductive, “bottom-up” manner. For example, in reading a series of fantasy or science-fiction stories based on the quest pattern, students could be asked to define the similarities between these stories in terms of the quest pattern. This requires that you initially work with them in a “top-down,” deductive manner, providing them with some concepts or schema about the quest pattern.  Develop a mythology, fantasy, or science fiction unit in which you include both “top-down”/deductive and “bottom-up”/inductive activities for defining relationships between texts.

 

HELPING STUDENTS SUSPEND DISBELIEF 

 

Reading fantasy and science fiction requires students to suspend their disbelief so that they can accept an alternative version of reality, something that may be difficult for “reality-bound” adolescents. For use in teaching a fantasy or science-fiction novel, devise some activities that would help students suspend their disbelief.

 

COLLECTING AND STUDYING ORAL NARRATIVES

 

Students could study narratives by tape recording conversations with others (with their permission) and then transcribing the narratives contained in those conversations. In some cases, students may collect stories from grandparents or older members of a community as part of an oral history project.

 

In transcribing the conversations, they could break the narrative down into clauses or sentences (see Gee [1996] for techniques of narrative analysis). They could then label those clauses or sentences in terms of Labov’s categories: abstract, orientation, complicating action, and resolution/coda, as well as note cues that reflect an interaction with an audience. They could then identify certain patterns in the language by “looking “at’ language — the way a story is told” as opposed to looking “‘through’ language to pull out the bare bones of a story” (Rymes, p. 165). Students could note certain repetition of words or phrases, for example, the use of “they" to refer to opposing parties, or categories such as “troublemaker” or “ESL” to refer to themselves or others. They could also determine the different voices of others evoked in the story, and how those voices differ from the voice of the speaker. And, they could note how the audience(s) and context influenced how students told their stories.

 

NARRATIVES AND SOCIAL WORLDS

 

Have students collect some stories from a particular social world, for example, family stories about events, traditions, and/or unusual family members or stories shared by members of a neighborhood or town that serve to define what that neighborhood’s or town’s beliefs and attitudes (see, for example, House on Mango Street or Lake Wobegon Days). Discuss how these stories serve as a tool for defining a sense of continuity from the past to the future, linking the practices of past generations to current family members, neighbors, or townspeople.

 

STUDYING CULTURAL VARIATIONS OF THE SAME NARRATIVE 

 

Students could study how different narrative versions of myths, fairy tales, or fables reflect differences in cultural models. For example, the Cinderella story has a wide range of different versions that each represent different cultural perspectives:

 

Tales Similar to Cinderella

Cinderella Stories WebQuest

 

STUDYING THE NEWS AS NARRATIVE 

 

Students could record television news stories or find newspaper articles that employ a narrative format. They could then examine the uses of various narrative devices to portray an event.

 

STUDYING NARRATIVE THROUGH DIFFERENT MEDIA FORMS 

 

Students should examine narratives using different media forms. For example, how is the narrative changed when a book is made into a movie or graphic novel? The values of each media form (e.g. importance of action vs. dialogue) can be evaluated based on how the narrative is altered to fit the norms of its genre.

 

ANALYZING NARRATIVES IN FANTASY, SCIENCE FICTION, OR ADVENTURE LITERATURE AND FILMS 

 

Examine the use of certain storylines in contemporary fantasy, science fiction, or adventure literature or films popular with adolescents: the Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, etc.  Define how consistent narrative patterns in these storylines reflect certain cultural attitudes or beliefs operating in a culture or society.  For example, in fantasy novels and films, the quest pattern (Frye, 1957) in which the hero engages on a journey to destroy evil and discover some truth about the world reflects a belief in the clear distinction between good versus evil and then need for people to engaged in a search for truths about their own lives.   Or, the threats or challenges in science fiction novels or films reflect the fears or concerns facing certain generations—disease, fear of adversaries, nuclear bombs, ecological disasters, etc.

 

MAKING INTERTEXTUAL CONNECTIONS 

 

In devising mythology, fantasy, or science-fiction units, you need to encourage students to learn to define their own connections between texts in an inductive, “bottom-up” manner. For example, in reading a series of fantasy or science-fiction stories based on the quest pattern, students could be asked to define the similarities between these stories in terms of the quest pattern. This requires that you initially work with them in a “top-down,” deductive manner, providing them with some concepts or schema about the quest pattern.  Develop a mythology, fantasy, or science fiction unit in which you include both “top-down”/deductive and “bottom-up”/inductive activities for defining relationships between texts.

 

INFERRING SPEECH ACTS

 

Have students record a conversation (with participants’ permission) or a role-play. Then, have them identify the various speech acts employed in the conversation, noting the extent to which the uptake or intended meaning is acknowledged or ignored by others, as well as instances in which speakers adhere to or violate certain conversational maxims. Then, have students analyze the speech acts and adherence to maxims in text dialogues, noting how they use these inferences to construct characters and narrative conflicts.

 

STUDYING VOICE 

 

Students could also study the uses of “double-voiced” language within a novel or film that represent different discourse or speech worlds of science, law, romance, politics, business, religion, etc. (Knoeller, 1998). For example, Mary Shelley’s (1977) novel, Frankenstein, contains “science talk” set against talk of political power, romance, and religion. Students also could collect some examples of parody or mimicry found in everyday conversation, television situation comedies, graffiti, song lyrics, cartoons, notes passed in class, or published satires. They could then discuss the different voices dramatized in parody or mimicry, as well as how parody or mimicry is being used to resist or criticize certain rules/norms or roles/identities. Students could also reflect on how their different voices represent different roles or identities associated with different worlds. For example, a student notes that in her waitress job, she adopts a “chatty, informal” voice associated with “making small-talk” with the customers, a role she is asked to adopt based on the manager’s belief in being “customer-friendly.” In contrast, she notes that in her chemistry class, she adopts a more formal role associated with a discourse of science and adopting an “objective” stance.

 

GIVING REASONS FOR PREDICTIONS 

 

As students move through a narrative, stop at different points in the story and have them write out optional predictions for what may happen next or how the story will end. Then, have them cite reasons for their predictions from both the previous events in the story and from their own knowledge of storylines. Then, at a later point in the story, have them determine whether their predictions were valid and reasons why they were or were not valid. They may also compare reasons for their predictions, noting that with familiar, prototypical genres, they have less difficulty making predictions than with more complex narratives.

 

STUDYING THE INFLUENCE OF BINARY CATEGORIES 

 

Students may also reflect on how their responses are shaped by various categories of oppositions: “good/evil,” “right/wrong,” “male/female,” “black/white,” “high/low,” “real/artificial," “love/hate,” etc. As poststructuralist critics point out, these categories themselves are suspect in that, as binary, either/or constructions, for example, “male”/“female,” or “white”/“black,” they limit or essentialize an understanding of the complexity of experience. Students could reflect on how their responses reflect the application of some of these binary categories.

 

STUDYING INITIATIONS

 

Students could study of examples of initiations in contemporary society, literature, and film. They could identify the larger purpose for the initiation as well as norms constituting success in achieving the initiation. For example, leaving home to travel or to attend college represents a form of initiation into new, different world (see Emra, 2001, for stories related to “leaving home.”)

 

HELPING STUDENTS SUSPEND DISBELIEF 

 

Reading fantasy and science fiction requires students to suspend their disbelief so that they can accept an alternative version of reality, something that may be difficult for “reality-bound” adolescents. For use in teaching a fantasy or science-fiction novel, devise some activities that would help students suspend their disbelief.

 

DEFINING RULES / NORMS

 

Describe the rules or norms operating in a class, school, peer group, workplace, community organization, or chat room, as well as a text world. What are those indicators or cues that suggest these rules or norms operating in these contexts, particularly the consequences of actions deemed as inappropriate?

 

 

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