Why Blog

I’m passionate about finding ways to simplify comprehension instruction and learning. I’m concerned that we are defining comprehension too narrowly as an accumulation of five or six meta-cognitive strategies when cultivating comprehension involves so much more than that. We need to help children acquire accurate fluent reading skills and strategies; build background knowledge; develop their oral language and vocabulary; make reading-writing connections, and acquire a repertoire of meta-cognitive strategies to use as and if needed.

So I invite you to join me in blogging about this ever-so-important topic. I look forward to hearing your ideas, teaching strategies, book recommendations, classroom stories, etc., basically anything that will inspire a healthy conversation among colleagues.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Using "Short and Sweet" Texts to Teach Genre

I’m a huge fan of Benchmark Education and the exemplary teaching materials they publish. Last month I had the pleasure of visiting their Pelham, NY office on my drive from Trumbull, CT where I spend half my time to Brooklyn Heights where I spend the other. I was interested in learning more about their Readers’ and Writers’ Genre Workshop, a new product I was introduced to at the 2010 IRA in Chicago. This resource is a collection of “short and sweet” genre sets for students in Grade 3 and higher. Each title, available at three reading levels and featuring one of 20 genres, includes a description of the genre, its key features, two short (and sweet) examples of that genre—one with annotations and the other without—for students to read and study. Students are also invited to try their hand writing in that genre.

I bring this resource to your attention in light my interest (and yours, as noted by the large number of comments made to my Jan. 20th  “Chapter Books—Short and Sweet” post) in putting into children’s hands reading materials that aren’t so long that students grow weary, over-whelmed, and lose sight of what they’re reading. Check this product out. It may be just what you’re looking for.

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