Talking and Writing About Texts

Read closely take notesTalking and Writing
about Text

Preparing to Talk

LITERARY ILLUMINATIONS*: Locate a few special sections of the reading that the class should hear read aloud.  The idea is to help us remember some interesting, powerful, funny, puzzling, or important sections of the text.  You decide which passages or paragraphs are worth hearing, and then jot plans for how they should be shared.  Practice reading the passages aloud so that those listening will be able to understand and appreciate your selections.

Meet with your small group to share your selections, then as a group choose one or two to present to the whole class.

Pg # Reason Pg # Reason Pg # Reason Pg # Reason
Informative Well Written Confusing Surprising
Controversial Provocative Funny Important

 

In-class Writing

Copy three special passages from the reading that you think best reflect characterization or theme revelation, that best extend the argument, that are particularly noteworthy, ones that are your favorites or are confusing to you.  The purpose is to focus on some important passages from the text and then to select one on which to expand, explain, or explore in writing.  Please put a star next to the selection you will discuss in writing.

Include title, author and reason(s) you chose the passage, what the passage brings to mind in terms of your own experience or observation, something we’ve read together in this class, or some contemporary or current event. Edit as best you can in time allotted.

Pg # Reason Pg # Reason Pg # Reason Pg # Reason
Informative Well Written Confusing Surprising
Controversial Provocative Funny Important

 These assignments work well for a number of reasons.  First, they send the students back to the text.  They give them choice about what will be discussed in class. They give students time to test their ideas before writing about them. Furthermore, the small group discussions provide an opportunity for the teacher to conduct no-stress assessments and s/he listens and observes students at work.

 Small groups of five to seven students first meet to share their passages, then choose one per group to read aloud to the whole class.  In structuring the discussion this way, more students have an opportunity to talk and be heard.  When the teacher circulates among the groups, s/he can observe, listen and discover what students think about the text and what they do or do not yet understand.  S/he then can tailor the remaining class session to clarify areas of misconception or misunderstanding or moving on to the next topic.  Here’s link to student assignment sheet, Talking and Writing about Texts.

*term from Harvey Daniels Literature Circle roles.

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Teaching English Language Arts