This month I'd like to share an effective reading strategy I've been using for years...so long I forgot where I initially heard about it. I've had success with this strategy with first-graders up through fifth-graders. While it is good for any text, I find it especially helpful for nonfiction. It's called 4 R's.
Sounds way too simple, right? Have students read a short portion of text (independently, with a partner, all together...it doesn't matter). Next they cover the section with their hand. The third step is the most important: they silently remember what they just read about. I usually give them 5-10 seconds of remembering time, depending on the complexity of the text. Lastly, they retell the text to a partner.
To make students accountable for this strategy we play a game called "I Remember". They know they have to retell and they have to listen carefully to what their partner says because they will be sharing both if called on. To play I remember I randomly call a student. They begin with the sentence stem: "My partner remembered..., and I remembered...". This little activity not only holds them accountable for the text, but also helps them comprehend the text better by listening to the details that their classmates got that may differ from what they got out of it. And it gives me insight to their level of comprehension: are they regurgitating what they just heard? Are they referring to the text explicitly? Or are they inferring or drawing conclusions based on what they just read?
I get tons of information. Students are really comprehending the text and having in depth conversations about the text. And best of all, there are absolutely no worksheets that I have to grade!
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