I love using novels and trade books as part of my reading instruction! I designed “thinkmarks” to help keep students actively engaged in their reading. This thinkmark was designed to accompany the novel Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell.
This thinkmark divides the book into five sections. For each section there is:
• a reminder of the assigned pages for that section (What pages was I supposed to read?)
• a place to write in the date of the next discussion/group meeting (When should I have this section completed by?)
• a brief description of a strategy to practice written in kid-friendly language
- Notice & Note Contrasts and Contradictions
- Use Context Clues
• a specific way to utilize a sticky note (What should I think about while reading?)
• and a brief response activity to be completed after reading
Discussing the “focus stickies” or the “Respond” activity is a great way to either launch a reluctant discussion group or fill in the “dead air” when the conversation lags. I also use my thinkmarks for a quick at-a-glance assessment or even a participation grade!
Thinkmarks are simple to use. Just photocopy them front-to-back (one per student), fan-fold them, and you’re ready to go! Enjoy!
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