Life in Seussey Second

Soaring to greatness by thinking great thinks!

Moving Beyond Surface Level Comprehension!


Today was a big day in Seussville, because we graduated to a brand new listening guide.  Normally during the stories that are associated with each literacy theme, the listening guide involved making word predictions and sketching images we create in our minds.  As we listened to the book, we would stop periodically throughout the story and add words, circle words we had heard and sketch our pictures.  While these are all vital skills that help build a strong foundation in reading, it was time to kick it up a notch.

2 years ago I met with all K-5 teachers in the district where we all participated in a lesson with the book The Giving Tree.  As the book was read to us, we filled out a listening guide that we thought was an excellent way to help students dig deeper into the text.  One of the big shifts in Common Core is having students move beyond surface level (literal) thinking while reading.  Instead, students need to focus on generating inferences, using evidence from the text to synthesize new ideas, and form opinions supported with reasons from the text.  We are proud to announce that not only does this new listening guide have all that BUT it also allows for students to practice all of our comprehension strategies! WIN WIN!

Here is what it looks like: Listening Guide

First students are given clues to engage their thinking before they read the text and then they are offered a question.  Today the question was: Who will win the election and why?  While we listened to our listening story, Grace for President, students were encouraged to be thinking about this question.  They were told that at some point I would stop reading and they would fill out their thoughts in the first box.  Students were encouraged to answer the question and tell why they felt that way.  You will notice that there are 4 boxes at the top with the same phrase in each box: What do you see & think?  Just as with the old listening guide, I would stop periodically and ask students to record their thoughts about the question.  We started recording in the first box and then the second time in the second box and so on.  We practiced what listening would look like and I was able to model what should be going on in our brain while we were listening.   As we read the text, we talked about how our opinion or reasons may change and that is ok.  After students recorded their thoughts, they were able to share at their tables and with the class.  This helped us to see how other students were thinking and gave us ideas for what to think about next time.

Once the first 4 boxes were complete we took all of those ideas, and synthesized them into a “big reveal”.  Basically we thought about what we discovered while reading the text and how it answered the question.  I was most impressed at how everyone took the challenge head on and tried their very best.  After the first couple of boxes, students were digging deeper into the meaning of the text than they had ever before AND supporting their reasons with evidence from the text.  The last box was used to record thoughts they heard that they agreed with or found fascinating.

Please feel free to use this new listening guided at home with your child when they bring the big book home or better yet have them teach it to you.  This is also a wonderful item to use while reading other books too.  You don’t always have to write it out and you can change the question to be anything you want.  For example, it can be about a character, theme, plot, etc.

Encouraging your child to dig deeper into the meaning and support their reasoning with evidence from the text will help them soar into the category of a wild reader!  Happy reading!

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