Last week Leigh Ann and I were talking about reading. Our discussion centered around one of her latest blogs Getting the Most Out of Independent Reading and what we had learned from our recent attendance at a Making Reading Meaningful workshop by Carrie Ekey. Also Leigh Ann references one of Carrie Ekey’s books in her blog Taking a Big-Girl Pill and Cleaning Up!
However, I have to be honest and happily admit that, this conversation was so good that it inspired me to join her in a Year 4 Novel Study. Leigh Ann is positively infectious that way. My curiosity trumped my reservations and one of the few novels I read from my childhood, Bridge to Terabithia, had left an impact on and connection with my life growing up.
I considered what I had found and decided to study plot, characters, themes etc through the lens of the 8 Reading Behaviors (see the blog Eight Reading Comprehension Skills in PD Bites). These comprehension strategies are familiar to my class and the color coding would help organize the Novel Study by section using these headings. We always use red to symbolize Prior Knowledge, orange for Visualizing, yellow for Making Connections and so on.
As we only touched on 5 of the 8 Reading Behaviors we came up with an idea for Visualizing. Students would be given time to respond specifically to visualization in their Sketch Books. We use Sketch Books much like our Writer’s Workshop folders; as a place for developing and collecting ideas. I am hoping these notes and sketches will help us develop a deeper understanding of this novel and ultimately impact their writing.
I think Leigh Ann may succeed in her endeavor, she should have placed a wager, because I didn’t know studying novels could be so interesting. Once again, I am pleased to report a common measure of success with this class is that I had to drag my students away from their work out to break for a run around and refreshments. I am grateful that my first foray into a Novel Study was kindly encouraged and well received.