Want to introduce your kids to a neat strategy for reading comprehension? Kids of any age benefit from annotating (and they love knowing and using that fancy word!) and I have seen great success with it on increasing student achievement on informal and formal assessments. We try to teach our kids a variety of strategies, and some they gravitate towards and some not so much... from my experience, I have a hard time getting kids to use their strategies consistently. It's frustrating to them and to me!
The bottom line that I've realized from my kids is that they know they are SUPPOSED to use the strategies, but they don't understand what difference it makes. We as teachers know they have to use strategies to truly understand what they are reading!
It's from that frustration that I created "Cracking the Case" annotating strategy activity that is "disguised" as a detective solving a mystery. My kids LOVED it! You can build it up or keep it as simple as you'd like, but this strategy sets the stage for kids to:
1) NEVER forget this lesson
2) Actually use the strategy
Have fun with it-- play the "Pink Panther" theme song to set the detective scene, follow through the teacher instructions, use the resources provided, and have a blast!
Included in this activity PDF are (for those who can print in color and in black and white):
*Teacher Directions, suggestions, and a breakdown of how to implement the activity
*Colorful "Cracking the Case" posters for each step of the strategy, with 2 options of how to present
*Detective Bookmarks (to use as a reference for the steps to cracking the case)
*Evidence marker cards, flags, and evidence tape (to identify evidence clearly)
*Notepad “sheets” (to practice documenting evidence on the passage)
*Detective Badges and Crime Tape