Many teachers have students write before or after they read a particular passage. Woodburn Elementary second grade teacher Pam Weesner jumpstarts her pre-reading writing with a strategy that targets her visual learners and reluctant writers.

Before reading Nutik, the Wolf Pup, a story in the reading series, Pam gave her students pictures of polar bears. They wrote about what they saw, felt, and knew about polar bears. “I gave each of them a small picture of a polar bear that I’d printed from the computer, and they glued it in their response journals before they started to write. It just helps the reluctant writers get enthused about their writing.”

What a fabulous idea to get kids writing about what they know before reading. You could also use the strategy after reading to prompt a simple summary. Thanks, Pam!

Generate Simple Summaries Rather Than Regurgitation

Summaries should demonstrate the students’ thinking; they should be more than regurgitation of the text. Using a “pyramid” approach gets students to first think about the reading. Then, using the ideas from their pyramids (words and phrases they listed), they draft a simple summary.

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