KinderGals: Easy Steps to Build Book Talk...with Partner Reading

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Easy Steps to Build Book Talk...with Partner Reading

Have you ever tried to get kids to read, discuss, and enjoy books with their friends only to be disappointed when they just sit beside each other? I remember telling my kids it is going to be a great day because we are going to get to read books with our friends. I would be so excited that we had reached that milestone. But, I soon realized that I had not set my kids up for success. I had not scaffold my kids. I had not provided the mini lessons to teach them HOW to read books with partners.  My friend, Michele, and I worked together to create a series of mini lessons that we could use to provide that HOW for our kids.
The mini lesson is essential in providing that scaffolding needed to ensure success. We use mini lessons to teach the children how to read with partners.
The Mini Lesson follows this guideline:
Connect: "Remember yesterday when we..." This is where we remind the children what we did yesterday.
Teach: "Today I am going to show you..." This is where we name the standard we are teaching. "Let me show you what I mean." This is where we model what it would look like. We take on the role of the reader.
Active Engagement: "Now let me see you try." This is where the kids actively practice the new skill you just taught. During this time you are observing, taking notes, and offering help.
Link: "Remember boys and girls, today and everyday, good readers..." This is where we remind the children what we just learned.
Up until this point we have our children reading books by themselves. Each day we are adding to our time as we build stamina. Once kids are successful reading independently, it is time to introduce partnerships. In a kindergarten class this usually happens after the first month, in first grade after a few weeks.
Here are some key points when developing partnerships.
  • Partnerships are based on reading/language levels.
  • Partnerships should be like ability.
  • This is a time for all kids to grow as readers, not a mentor/mentee partnership.
  • Partnerships should change every few weeks. When you notice a decrease in stamina or more off task behavior, consider changing partners.
  • One thing I remember when establishing partnerships is the saying, "the one doing to talking is the one doing to learning."  I want partnerships where there will be an equal exchange of conversation.
  • Stamina for partners is built slowly just like for private reading time. This means, that your children have worked longer independently than with their partners. This is because they have been reading independently for several weeks to a month before they start reading with partners. It is possible for the children to have an independent reading stamina of 8 minutes and their partner reading stamina be 4 minutes.
  • Each day, add time to both the independent reading time and the partner reading time.
After the mini lesson, it is time for Application, or work time. Here's how that might look:
  • We send kids off with their bag of good fit books to read independently.
  • They sit back to back, or close to their partner.
  • I set the time for our stamina growth target for independent reading time.
  • When the time goes off, the children turn and move closer to their partner. By placing them closely together for independent reading time, movement and off task time is minimized.
  • I set the time for our stamina growth target for partner reading time.
  • During this time, I am moving around the room to ensure that all children know the procedures and expectations. Don't worry about pulling small groups until your children are working well independently and know the expectations.
As we begin our mini lessons on developing Powerful Partnerships, Michele and I teach our kids how to read with their friends. The various ways to read with friends are taught over the course of the week. Each day, we learn a new way to read with friends and practice it during the mini lesson. As the children move to read independently and then with partners, you are observing and making notes as to which children are easily applying the new learning. Make notes of which children may need extra support.
One of the ways we teach children to read together, is for them each to read a book out of their own collection. Here, one child is reading while the other child is listening. Then, they swap roles. Teaching the role of the listener is a mini lesson that we cover in Unit 1, but it needs to be reminded and recognized as the children are working.

The next day, we teach our children how partners can read a book together. This strategy is best modeled using books with rhythm, poems, songs, poems or chants.  Rhythmic books like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, song books like Five Little Ducks, or predictable books the children made during centers, are all good choices for this way of reading together.
 Here partners are reading from an alphabet chart.
Here partners are reading from our class poetry journal. (This is from Kim Jordano's poetry unit.)
Day 3 we teach our children  how they can take turns with the same book--you read the book, and then I can read the same book. This works really well with books that were used in guided reading lessons (both partners have the same book in their bag). Or, they can also practice this strategy with books made during centers where again they would both have the same book.
This works really well with  Cut, Stack, Staple Read books,
 and with the Cut a Sentence Books.

Once we have introduce all three ways, we want to model what it looks like to keep busy the whole time. I'm sure you have seen it. You send them off to read together. They get started reading a book together, right away. In a few minutes you look over and they are just sitting there. When you inquire, they respond---we did it, we read a book together. During this lesson we model how to read a book together, then decide which of the three ways do we want to read our next book.  The children continue reading books, one of the three ways taught, until the time is up.
 Here's what is happening... 
  • Our kids are reading independently and building stamina.
  • They can easily transition to working with partners.
  • We have our kids reading books together.
  • They are staying busy the whole time.
  • All is well in kinderland!
But we aren't done yet. Now we introduce how to TALK about what we are reading.  Again, the scaffolding is built during mini lessons.  Each day we teach and practice how readers talk about what they are reading. By the end of the second week, the kids have the necessary skills to support book talk.
Michele introduced me to the Sticky Note Folder. It is a piece of 9x12 construction paper folded in half. On the inside, we place an icon associated with each of the 4 things we can talk about with our partners. Beside each icon, we place a few sticky notes.
During independent reading time, the children are using the post it notes to mark the things they want to share with their partner---they are getting ready to share.
Then, when is time for partner reading, the children take turns sharing. They can quickly turn to the page(s) with sticky notes. They share their connection, something new they learned, something that is really cool, or their favorite part. 
We created a flow map to teach the process of using the sticky note folder. Flow maps are "brain friendly". They not only develop dendrites, they also allow the brain to take a "snap shot" of the learning. This makes it easier to retrieve the information.
The children each make one of their own flow maps to keep in their reading folder. When they are sharing with their partners, it can provide support as they learn the process.
 Here is what we know:
  • Children should be working with partner to read together in a variety of ways.
  • It is our responsibility to provide the mini lessons to support our children.
  • We are building stamina during partner reading time just like we do for independent reading time.
  • Children should engage in age level appropriate conversation about books.
  • Again, mini lessons are used to model and practice book conversation.
  • Partners are based on like reading ability and language skills.
  • Partners are changed every few weeks. 
Ideas for this blog post come from Powerful Partnerships, Unit 2.

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1 comment:

Mrs. B said...

Love this! Great reminders about the different ways to partner read. It's just what I needed. And for some reason I always have the hardest time remembering to teach in mini-lessons each day. My room could totally use a reminder and few mini-lessons on partner reading and partner talk.

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