In Texas, teachers are required to teach explicit comprehension lessons. The standards and expectations for these lessons can be found in our FIGURE 19 standards. Sounds like a top secret military instillation doesn’t it? It’s not! Instead- it is our goal to take what used to be TOP SECRET thinking and share it with students. We used to keep all of our thinking secret- hidden- we wouldn’t share it with students. Now, we have to!
One of the first lessons I use with students to assist in this kind of TOP SECRET comprehension instruction is Reading is Thinking: Creating a Reading Salad. This great idea came to me from Tanny McGregor’s book Comprehension Connections.
When we read, we think! We think all kinds of things! Well… if we are proficient readers we do. Less proficient readers don’t actually know that this is a “thing”. They don’t necessarily know that it is a good thing that readers do. So it’s time to TEACH!
A red bowl with the word THINKING written on it and red squares of paper inside
A green bowl with the word TEXT written on it and green squares of paper inside
Another large bowl (clear is preferred) where these papers will MIX
A text that you have read and prepared your thinking
Boys and girls, I want to talk with you today about something that happens when readers read. Readers think! While you are reading- there is another voice in your head- it’s your voice- thinking! So I want to show you how this works today. I’m going to show you how the words in the text make me think when I’m reading.
I’m going to show you that by making a reading salad. So the words in the text (hold up green bowl) are like the lettuce. There’s a lot of text just like there’s a lot of lettuce in a salad. Now look, the red (hold up the red bowl) that’s when I’m thinking. Like tomatoes in a salad. Words in the text, will make me think different things. Let me show you what I mean. Watch- while the text and my thinking mix together like a salad.
Now you model! You have already prepared your text- every time you found yourself saying something in your head you’ll tell kids about it. “So… right here when the text said _______ (put in a green square) I thought _______ (put in a red square).” This continues until there’s a lot of green and red in the salad bowl.
You can of course ask kids to participate after you model or you can save that for a later day. Perhaps the next day, you ask students to jot the words from the text and their thinking on red and green squares. Sharing in the conversation about the thinking that the text created for individual readers as a group.
Create an anchor chart- consider GLUEING students’ read and green squares to onto the bowl.
This of course then leads to student independent work. I’ve attached a FREEBIE for this! You can get your Reading Salad Recording Sheet HERE! If you download it- I’d love your rating or your comment!