As educators, we constantly strive to prepare our students to become thinking, contributing members of society. Teachers know that reading plays a vital role in this preparedness. We know, too, that reading is far more than decoding the words on the page – it involves comprehension. And as the text becomes more difficult, students need comprehension strategies that help them understand both the literal and implied meaning of what they read. Students benefit from teachers who explicitly demonstrate the use of reading strategies.
It is therefore important to teach reading and writing through the practical application of Reading Strategies and Writing Skills. The instructional activities included in this section do just that: they provide structured activities and lesson plans that develop, through fun, engaging activities, the students’ understanding of reading and writing. In Reading Activities, teachers will find exercises that help develop student reading skills and explicit instruction on how to deliver those exercises. In Writing Activities, teachers will find similar activities and instruction, but geared toward improving student writing practices. The Reading-Writing Connection lessons provide instructional activities that are text specific. Lastly, The French Activities present french-language lessons and activities for select texts in the Reading-Writing Connection lessons.
Teaching an Instructional Activity
Before you teach any instructional activity, identify for students the reading strategy to be emphasized. Here’s one example of a conversation that could introduce an instructional activity:
“Good readers predict when they read, so today we are going to practice predicting by using a ‘Sort and Predict’ activity. I’m going to give you some words to sort into groups or categories. Then we can make some predictions about the story.”
Teachers should remember that instructional activities use short pieces of text accessible to most children. The teacher and all students use common text passages. Read-alouds and poems are useful examples of reading selections. The overhead and big books are also helpful ways to present common text to a large group of students.