Today's post focuses upon an important aspect of Reading Street I will never teach without again as long as I have the ability to use Reading Street. We did not use this the first year that I used RS so I am not familiar with it at the 2nd grade level but I have used it faithfully in 4th and 5th grade and I do plan to incorporate it into my Daily 5 rounds in 3rd grade this year.
I am a firm believer that routine and structure are vastly important for students. I think this is especially true for the students that I teach: many come from high poverty homes, sometimes with adults who are illiterate. The children need to know what they will be expected to do every day. I have had substitute teachers praise how "well oiled" my room is because I strive to have a consistent schedule; it helps me but it also helps my students.
This is one thing I love about Daily 5. It provides a lot of structure but also is so adaptable and flexible that you can make it your own. Thus on Mondays, as we begin our new weekly story, my students will engage with the story's strategies and concepts with Rounds 1 and 2 on Monday and Round 3 will provide time for a short close-read that also emphasizes the strategies we are focused upon for that week.
Round 3 Monday: Advanced Fresh Read
I'm not sure where the term "Fresh Read" comes from but these are short texts that allow you to guide students through a close-reading. There are 3 for each story: SI (strategic instruction/below level), OL (on level) and A (advanced). I do the close read with the students utilizing the advanced copy. This is appropriate because it is all teacher guided so below level students and/or ELLs still find some success.
Here's how it works:
Step One: Copy the Fresh Reads for each student and pass them out. (Note: this is copied from the online resource center so the actual fresh reads look a little different than this.) This sample is from the first story in our first unit for 3rd grade entitled "The Fire Stealer". I do these with my students at our carpet meeting area--they can bring clipboards or their book to use as a writing surface.
Step Two: Box in and label the title and number the paragraphs. This allows you to sneak in a bit of work on text features (especially important in the event there are graphs or tables that go with the story). We do this because I insist that the students be able to show proof of their answers (in step 5 below) so numbering the paragraphs allows the children to not have to count each time to be able to share where their proof is.
Step Three: Read through the story once just to read it. You are not focused upon strategy work at all yet. Remember for a close read, you simply read it once through first.
Step Four: Read all of the questions that students will be asked aloud together & find text evidence ("proof"). Then focus upon one question at a time as students hunt for their proof. Usually because the texts are short, students know the answers to the questions but in this step it is vastly important to remind the students that they need to know how to find evidence or proof in the text in case someone else disagrees.
Step Five: Provide "tracks" to show that you know your answer is correct. As you can see below, I underlined a portion of text in paragraph six and write 1 and circled it. That demonstrates that this proof matches question 1. Next to question 1, I wrote P6 which stands for paragraph six.
Keep in mind that you are going through this as a shared close read--you are actually doing most of the work as the teacher. You are thinking aloud, modeling and showing students where to underline (I like to actually use brightly colored pens when I do this so that I can turn it and my students can see the places I have marked--especially helpful for my lower readers).
Generally these will take 15-20 minutes at the beginning of the year if students are not used to doing them. (That timeline is based upon my experience in 4th-5th grade; it may be shorter at the start of 3rd grade.) That means you'll be over the 10 minute mark recommended by the Sisters, but I highly recommend that you accommodate for that--this time is absolutely invaluable. You are truly modeling what good readers do and how they do it! I plan to use this last round as conference-only round on Monday with no group so that none of my groups are being compromised on the time that they need with me at the small table.
You might be wondering why I do this with the Advanced level copy. First because it is one that usually is to abstract for my students--a lot of times even my higher readers aren't super successful with these ones on their own just because the content can be a little out of their reach. So it allows me to demonstrate for them with a text that is interesting but is a something they couldn't necessarily do on their own. Second because later in the week, the students can complete another Fresh Read from the weekly story independently and you have instant data as to who is "getting it" and who isn't.
99% of the time, I give the students the On Level version for their independent go, even my ELLs and resource friends. Not because I'm a huge jerk or because I don't know anything about literacy, but because in the real world, the big test makers don't care that 100% of my students aren't on grade level. I have to expose them to grade level text and this is a way friendlier way to do it. Plus these are short, I can grade an entire class set (25 or so) in under 10 minutes because most of it is multiple choice (the upper grades have constructed response on the Fresh Reads--I'm not sure when they start in 3rd grade). I can then look at that data and see immediately who needs more support in group on a particular strategy.
In the past, when I was not using the Daily 5 model, we did the Advanced version together on Monday and the students did their version on Tuesday. This year, however, I think I am going to utilize the Fresh Read as the "test" at the end of the week--partly because it's short so it won't take up 500 years but also because there is no sense drowning my students in a big reading passage when this small one will tell me if they are getting it.
Another benefit and something I love about Reading Street is how the strategies spiral--you won't do compare/contrast once and never see it again. It crops up throughout the year so students who weren't successful with it before will have time to catch on as the year goes. This makes the Fresh Reads an essential part of my Daily 5 rotation plan.
I know that is a lot and I hope I explained it well. If you have questions, please let me know in the comments! :)