Slow Down To Catch Up

As a reading intervention teacher I constantly have to remind myself to slow down so my students can catch up. I have to balance the sense of urgency to bring the students up to grade level in reading, with what I know they will need to be successful.

Previewing text before students read helps them learn from and understand the text better. Teachers (myself included) often want to skip this strategy so they can just move on to the text and teach the Common Core Standards.  This year my professional growth plan is to make sure I am including previewing activities in my lesson plans. This is forcing me to take the time to front load the text,  for and with my students.  By forcing, I don’t mean for it to sound negative, it is just that now I need to make it part of my deliberate practice.  So, even though I was anxious to jump into books this past week with my students, we practiced previewing strategies.
Previewing strategies help to set the purpose for reading, get the students focused on the important information, and make connections between what they already know and the text.  English Language Learners and students below grade level in reading have a greater difficulty than their peers, to jump into new text without background support. Students need to be introduced to the topic before reading.
Pre teaching vocabulary and concepts are two ways to set the readers up for success. This past week I used two different methods to preview text with my groups. Some of my groups created a probable passage to preview the text and other groups used an anticipation guide. I will explain both methods.
Probable Passage- The students are given vocabulary words from the text.  Discussion follows to make sure the students understand the meaning of each word.
     Non- Fiction text- I have the students sort the vocabulary words by the parts of speech.  They group all the nouns, proper nouns, adjectives, verbs (usually all the important vocabulary will fall into these four categories) together. Then, either orally or in written form, they make predictions about what information or what they will learn from reading the text. I find this previewing strategy to be very powerful. The students definitely have a greater understanding of the text after this strategy is implemented.
     Fictional text- The same method is used for fictional text except for the sorting of the words. For fictional text, I have the students sort the vocabulary words by story elements (characters, setting, problem, solution, and events).  The students then predict what the story will be about. My students demonstrate great excitement to share their ideas!
Probable Passage- Students sorting vocabulary words

Probable Passage- Students sorting vocabulary words

Anticipation Guide- This strategy is only used with non- fiction text. The teacher looks through the text and pulls out facts. Some of the facts will be typed up accurately and some will not be accurate. The students read each fact, before they read the text, and decide if they agree or disagree with with the statement. As they read the text, they refer back to their anticipation guide, and check their accuracy. I also include a spot for them to record the page number where they found the fact. My readers approach this strategy full of energy! They enjoy the challenge of finding or disproving the facts. It draws them into the text and in turn, have a greater understanding of the text.


I am always on the hunt for new previewing strategies. I know previewing text is well worth the time it takes. My mantra for this year is going to be “slow down so my kids can catch up”! I know it will pay off in the long run.

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