Congratulations! You’ve just made a huge step in demystifying reading for your students! As English and reading teachers, most of us are natural readers who intuitively pick up on the mysteries of good writing and engage in reading. We want to know what comes next. We love seeing our predictions come true or get wildly twisted. It’s natural to us. Not so for many of our students; even some of our brightest kids will inevitably ask us, “Why do we have to read this? It’s so boring!”
That’s where reading prompts come in. These guides aren’t the typical study guides that merely ask students to read and answer a series of questions after looking at a list of vocab words. It’s nice if students can tell us what Scout’s full name is in To Kill a Mockingbird, but is that really what we want them to take away from reading such a powerful book about justice, racism, and the power of empathy? Let’s face it. Those kinds of study guides are tidy lesson plans, but they bore students and don’t engage them in thinking about what they are reading, enjoying what they read, and becoming better readers.
This teacher’s guide explains how to use these prompts in your classroom for maximum impact with your students. Each prompt has three main components:
- Before Reading: a statement of reading purpose written in student-friendly language and (in many prompts) vocabulary usage
- During Reading: reading tasks that direct students in during-reading activities such as annotation, highlighting, and translating
- After Reading: reading outcomes, which are critical-thinking questions to help students critically think about the reading selection and synthesize that information in writing or another form that you can easily assess.