I've started using sentence frames, and this has made a huge difference. Reading discussion time is now one of my favorite parts of the day. The students are engaged with each other.
Here is what I do.
- Before we meet, the students have a choice of questions to write about.
- They write a paragraph or so from a group of prompts. They can choose which prompt to answer most of the time. Sometimes I choose for them.
- After they read their prompt, students ask them three questions or make three comments using our sentence frames.
After they write, a student shares their paragraph. Then, at least three students must ask the student questions about what they wrote about. Everyone has to participate over the course of the discussion. You will find below some of the prompts that I use and some of the sentence frames for the discussions.
Prompts for Reading Responses
Expressing feelings about the story
- How did the story make you feel? Tell what specific parts made you feel this way? (Mark that spot with a sticky note!).
- Why do you think other students might or might not enjoy this story?
- What was your favorite part of this story? Why is that your favorite part? (Use page numbers and at least one quote).
- Which character did you like best or least? Why? (Use page numbers and at least one quote).
Noting the author’s craft
- If the author of this book were in our classroom right now, what would you say or ask that person and why?
- If you could change this book, how would you change it and why?
- Is anything in this book strange or weird? Why do you think the author put that in the story?
Making personal connections
- What did this story remind you of?
- Tell about at least one connection that you can make personally with the characters or story.
Identifying important elements
- What are one or two of the most important ideas from this story?
- What is the author trying to tell you about life with this story?
- As you get into the novel, you will get to know the main character. Describe the person physically and also give examples of his/her personality, thoughts, and feelings. (Use page numbers and at least one quote).
- Choose a character in the book who is important, but no the main character. Describe this person, explain his/her relationship to the main character, and tell why s/he is important in the story. (Use page numbers and at least one quote).
- Explain how the main character or a supporting character changed during the story. Give evidence of change. (Use page numbers and at least one quote).
Sentence Frames for Discussion
- I agree with _________ because ________________.
- I disagree with ___________ because _________________.
- I liked when you said _____________________________.
- Could you tell me more about _______________________.
- What would have happened if _______________________?
- Why did you say _________________________________?
- When you said _______________, I thought ______________________.