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Stop and Say Something
November 22, 2013
You can offer an interactive twist to traditional in-class reading assignments by having students “stop and say something.”
Seat partners side by side, each with a personal copy of the day’s text. Ask the students to read silently to themselves and after a few moments, when you’ve seen the readers progressing through the text, say, “Readers, stop.”
Have students put their index fingers down to hold their positions in the text. Tell readers to turn to their partners and say something about the reading. You want to intentionally stop students and ask them to have a thought, ask a question, make a connection, summarize the text so far, identify what’s interesting, or what doesn’t make sense. It could be any thought at all related to the text.
After that something was shared, simply say, “Readers, resume reading.” Students return to independent, silent reading until you again say, “Stop and say something to your partner about the reading.” Each of these stops could include both partners saying something about the reading, or ask Reader A to say something to Reader B about the reading. At the next stop, Reader B would say something to Reader A. This is not to be a long discussion between the pair. It’s just an opportunity to share a thought.
Continue doing this a handful of times until students have completed the assigned section of text. This strategy encourages students to think while reading and not wait until they are done with the passage. It forces them to be a little more in tune to the reading and their understanding of it.
NOTE: Consider your high-ability readers who are naturally reading and thinking simultaneously. If you stop them too often, they will get annoyed. So, be conscious of the frequency of stops. You want to do it enough for your strugglers but not so much that you turn off your high-ability students. Or consider differentiating this and only doing it within smaller groups.