Three Ways to Respond to Reading

If you are an upper elementary reading teacher, then you are already well aware that in order for students to improve reading, they must... well... READ. And while our classrooms may be full of independent readers engaged in a plethora of books from our well-organized book bins, simply reading is not enough for developing comprehension. Explicit instruction of key reading strategies is vital for helping our young readers develop their comprehension, and so is another aspect that is sometimes overlooked: responding in writing to reading. 

Providing students with a variety of opportunities to respond in writing to reading helps improve comprehension by enabling students to connect ideas, analyze, summarize, and interpret key ideas from the text. Even by simply providing students opportunities to write personal reactions to text, comprehension can be improved. 

Although answering questions is one way for students to write about their reading, why not provide students with fun and enjoyable opportunities to respond in writing to the books they are reading? Here are 3 of my favorite ways for students to respond to reading.

Your students will enjoy writing about the books they read with this simple activity using an index card. Students simply write a summary of the book on an index card. Then, they use 1/2 sheet of white paper to draw and color a picture of the story. Then simply attach the index card to the picture for a display that your students will love. My students created these Index Card Reading Responses after I finished reading aloud The One and Only Ivan.

To create a shutter book, turn a piece of paper vertically. Fold the left side of the paper to the center. Then fold the right side to the center. Voila! You now have a shutter book!  On the inside of the shutter book, students write about the book they have read. Students may write about cause/effect situations, facts and opinions, character traits, settings, summaries, and more. For example, on the left side, students could write about the character by listing 2 or 3 character traits to describe the main character and provide evidence from the text to support the choice of traits. In the middle, students could write a summary of the book, and on the left column, students could write a description of the setting and explain its importance to the story. Then students write the title of the book on the front of the shutter book and draw and color a picture. The possibilities of this activity are endless. 

Your students will love responding to and telling about their reading with these fun seasonal flipbooks! Students may tell about a fiction book they have read by describing the story elements, tell about the sequence (beginning, middle, and end), or they may write about a non-fiction book by providing details from the book. Then, your students will enjoy seeing these fun seasonal shaped books displayed on the bulletin board. To find out more about these reading response flipbooks, visit my store or visit my blog to learn more. 

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