Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mentor Text Post #1-Story Structure

I know how much we, as teachers, struggle to teach skills that are supposed to be taught in an excerpt provided by a publishing company. Very rarely are the stories engaging, and I have noticed that very few of my students were able to make connections to those stories. Teaching summarizing? Try it with this story. Fail. Need to clarify? Try it with this story. Fail. I could never get that equation right. The students would do what I asked them to do, but they would never remember to connect it to their learning in another text. Last week I saw the wonderful Lori Ockzus speak at the California Reading Association's Professional Development Institute. I was riveted by her keynote, and decided to change up my practice in the classroom. I have always used mentor texts, but never as my sole practice for teaching a skill. It has changed my students! They are engaged, attentive, and are transferring skills that they never had before. I am so pleased with their progress, I thought I would share the books I am using with you! These two particular books are used to teach Story Structure: plot, setting, problem, resolution. Revisit them every day during the week, and see if your students can identify:
1. The setting/time
2. The problem
3. The characters
4. The solution (in 6th grade I use denouement)
5. Advanced skill: Character traits

We also started a reading challenge at my school. I am loving all of the energy that I feel in the air with reading. Hope you are all doing well!

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