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 My Brother Sam is Dead by Collier & Collier.
Each 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
• 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!
-- Becky Carlton
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