Once again, we're hard at work at learning how to be better readers in science class. It's no small task and I think I'm getting better at knowing how to help kids. Finally.
I always alter the textbook's Reading Guides. Oh, they are pretty boring if you use them as delivered...but with a few tweaks, they can get better and better. I star the questions that will be covered by the quiz and add extra questions to the end if I don't think they covered a topic in enough detail or from the best perspective.
When I first hand out these little jewels, I spend a painful class period going over each organizing structure that is present. This means we....
- match the worksheet title with the section name in the Table of Content (Amazingly this year my kids had a hard time figuring out how to use it. They said their teachers should just tell them the page number!!!)
- find the subheadings on the worksheet and then match those to the subheadings in the textbook
- I make them circle the subheadings and trace over it on the worksheet using the same color as the textbook font.....oh, they hate this but I think it drives the idea home
- we look at each question and predict which pages will contain the answers (I don't help them find the answers yet)
- they draw pictures of figurative language I think the textbook used that is particularly helpful in thinking about the content. For example, we're studying atmospheric energy and the textbook says that the clouds act as mirrors reflecting energy...so they draw a cloud and a sun...the cloud has a mirror that reflects the sun's rays
- I teach them how to find unique keyword in the question that they can use to skim through the pages where they know they'll find the answer
This is a painful process...but I can tell you that it pays huge dividends.
When we did our second and third worksheets. They knew exactly how to use the text features of the book to find answers. They are getting better and better at deciphering the information in the textbook.