Using children's vivid imaginations is a fun and effective way to enhance learning. "Whoa Cowboy" is a poster and lesson plan that will capture your students' imaginations as they use his help to monitor their own reading. Good readers monitor their reading because they are aware of their reading miscues. They then go back and attempt to correct these miscues. This is key to reading fluency and comprehension. Students need to be aware of two types of miscues. To monitor meaning cues, they should ask themselves, "Does that make sense?" To monitor visual cues, they should ask themselves, "Does it look right?" After a dramatic and playful introduction to Whoa Cowboy, children will begin to stop themselves when they have miscues. I like to introduce "Whoa Cowboy" as a whole group lesson. Then, by doing running records during individual reading conferences, I can discuss with a student his/her strengths and weaknesses based on his/her types of miscues. After a child is aware of his own strength and weaknesses, self-monitoring can become even more effective. You may actually hear your students say to themselves, "Whoa Cowboy!" as they begin to monitor their own reading.
This lesson can be used to teach the Common Core Performance Standard for reading: Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
This idea came from a fabulous teacher, Amy Culpepper, that I had the privilege of working with while I was the reading/writing standards coach at her school.
by Cheryl Thrasher
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License