Sunday, February 7, 2016

Strategies for Teaching Paired Texts


In the Lone Star State, fourth grade marks the time our students start being tested on paired texts. That means double the reading, double the connections, and double the thinking. Thanks, STAAR! My nine and ten year olds are TOTES ready for that... *smh*

No matter my feelings on the subject, my kids are going to be tested on paired texts. So I might as well make them fun, right?! And truthfully, I have seen some majorly awesome thinking coming from my little boos as we've started on our paired text journey.


To get our paired-texts-comparing-and-contrasting-juices flowing, I started with Venn Diagrams. This is nothing new to our kiddos, right?  They know about comparing and contrasting. But did you know how powerful Venn Diagrams are to help students understand COMPLEX ideas? As they are classifying information, they're recognizing complex relationships. As the rockstar teacher you are, make sure you're asking the deeper, higher level questioning as they're getting their Venn on. Some examples of questions/thinking stems to present to your students are: 
- How are ___ and ___ alike?
- How are ___ and ___ different?
- A similarity between ____ and ___ is?
- A difference between ___ and ___ is?
- A theme found in both selections is ____.
- How are the characters alike in ____ and ___?
- How are the characters different in ___ and ___?
- Why do you think ____ was mentioned in both stories? 
- One idea present in both selections is _____.

There are tons of FREE Venn Diagrams available for download on TPT. And Venn Diagrams don't always have to be circles... Check out all the fabulous F-R-E-E Venn-Like Diagrams from FCRR.org 

After some hardcore Venn-ing, we continued to explore paired texts with some super fantastic games from Jennifer Findley of Teaching to Inspire. It was such a fun way to introduce the questions students will see with paired texts in a non-test like format. Jennifer's Paired Passages Reading Centers give you FIVE paired texts with gameboards. We started with a poem and fiction pairing. We read, discussed, and strategy-ed both selections, made some connections between texts, then got our game on. The kids LOVED it!! And I did too- they were flipping between stories, proving answers and DISCUSSING both stories... Which was continuing that complex thinking AND are the exact things they need to do when kicking a paired text's butt! 

The next step I took on our paired text journey was with a straight up paired text. But about some pretty cool dudes - Lebron James and Michael Jordan. Perhaps you've heard of them? My kids sure had!! They were very excited to dig in, and I took this opportunity to introduce our paired text strategies. I am so thankful that my student teaching was in a 5th grade ELA classroom. The strategies I'm sharing are from my cooperating teacher, Kathy Brock. She was an inspiration to me! 

The first paired passage strategy I use is LABEL your passages. First passage gets a 1 and the second passage gets a 2. Pretty easy stuff for the kids to pick up. 
Why do this, you ask? A few reasons. 
- When the kiddos get around to the questions, I want them to label which story they need to flip back to for text evidence. 
- If my kiddos get confused on where to find and answer, all they have to do is FLIP TO THE CORRESPONDING STORY. I will push, push, push this during practice and PRAY they do it on their own come STAAR time. Lol. 

Here's an example of what I'll expect my kids to do using a released STAAR test from 2013. The cute red font represents the labeling strategy I'm teaching my kiddos. 

The T-Chart strategy comes in on the questions that deal with passages 1&2. Students need to find proof from BOTH stories. So I bring back the Venn Diagram thinking but in T-chart form because it's easy and quick. Here are the steps:
- Make a T chart. Label it 1 and 2 (this represents the stories)
- For each answer choice, find the proof in both stories. Record the paragraph number. 
- The correct answer will have a paragraph number under BOTH stories for "compare" questions (shown) or under ONE story on "contrast" questions. 
Pretty easy to see that the answer is A on this "compare" question!

These strategies help my kids THINK, PROVE their answers, and GET THE RIGHT ANSWER. And once they have these strategies down, they will be second nature to them. 
Paired Text? Consider your butt kicked. BOOM. 

There are so many fantastic teacherprenuers on TPT whose products have played a HUGE roll in my our paired text journey. Here are some products that I big puffy heart love. 

- Readers's Notebook Response Pages by The Thinker Builder. I use these response pages for EVERYTHING, not just paired texts. You have got to check out Michael's blog, he's like a reading genius in my opinion!! 

Paired Passages Reading Centers by Jennifer Findley. As mentioned above, my kids just LOVE these! Reading and working paired passages ALL THE TIME gets BOOOORING. Liven things up with games! Your kids can still practice their strategies but in a fun and stress-free way. 

- NBA Legends Paired Texts by Keith Geswein. Keith is Kimberley Geswein's (KG Fonts) hubby, and equally as talented! He offers paired texts on NBA, NFL and Soccer legends. Perfect for those reluctant readers in your class!! And my girls were just as stoked to read about Lebron & Michael as my boys were! 

I hope some of this info inspires and helps you! 
How do you tackle paired texts in your classroom? I'd love to hear from you! :) 

1 comment:

  1. Discover a Surefire Method to Teach Your Child to Read

    There are many different methods and opinions on how to teach a child to read - while all are well-intentioned, some methods could actually lead to reading difficulties in children. Learning to read is a critical step towards future academic success and later on success in life. If you cannot read, you cannot succeed. There is an amazingly simple method - actually, a combination of two methods - that can teach anyone to read, even children as young as 2 and 3 years old.

    The combination of these two methods has been used in the Children Learning Reading program to successfully teach thousands of young children to read. So what are these methods?

    It is the combination of synthetic phonics and phonemic awareness. Most have probably heard of phonics, but phonemic awareness is a concept less well known and ?it's not something you hear about often. Certainly, phonics is absolutely necessary to develop fluent reading skills; however, there are different types of phonics including embedded, analogy, analytical, and synthetic phonics. While using some type of phonics is better than not including any phonics instructions at all, you will achieve FAR BETTER results by employing synthetic phonics, which is by far the most easy and effective method for teaching reading. Multiple studies support this.

    In a 7 year study conducted by the Scottish Education Department, 300 students were taught using either analytic phonics or synthetic phonics. The results found that the synthetic phonics group were reading 7 months ahead and spelling 8 to 9 months ahead of the other phonics groups. At the end of the 7 year study, the children were reading 3.5 years ahead of their chronological age.

    Very impressive!

    Through their amazing reading program, the creators (Jim & Elena - parents of 4 children and reading teachers) have taught all of their children to read phonetically by 3 years old and have helped thousands of parents to successfully teach their children to read as well! Some are small 2 or 3 year old toddlers, others are young 4 or 5 year old preschoolers, and still others at ages 6, 7, 8 or even older.

    >> Click here to watch amazing videos of young children reading, and see the amazing results so many parents are achieving with their children.

    The Children Learning Reading program works so well that many children will achieve reading ages far ahead of their chronological age.

    Take Jim & Elena's children as an example: their oldest child, Raine, was reading phonetically at 2 years 11 months old, and by the time she entered kindergarten at 5 years old, she was reading at a grade 5 level with a reading age of 11.9 years - almost 7 years ahead of her chronological age. Their second child, Ethan, learned to read phonetically by 2 years 9 months, and at age 3, he was reading at a grade 2 level with a reading age of 7.2 years - progressing at a similarly quick pace as his older sister. Find that hard to believe? You can watch the videos posted here.

    There are many different phonics programs out there, but rarely do you ever hear a mention of phonemic awareness (PA), and PA is absolutely an equally critical component to developing reading skills in children. What makes the Children Learning Reading program so unique and amazingly effective at teaching young children is that it seamlessly combines the teaching of synthetic phonics along with phonemic awareness to enable children to develop superb reading skills.

    >>> Click here to learn more about the Children Learning Reading program and teach your child to read today

    ReplyDelete