July TCRWP Reading Institute – Nonfiction Book Clubs with Emily Smith session notes

I was in Emily Smith’s Advance Reading Session at the July Reading Institute!!
The topic was Nonfiction Book Clubs, specifically the skills of Synthesis, Comparison and Perspective. Each day, Emily modeled for us through a read-aloud using this book:

Then I was in a book club with 2 others, reading about Earthquakes. My book was:

A very useful tool she modeled during the read-aloud with us was using a Vocabulary Word Bank . It looked like this:

“Turn and tell your club members the meaning of any of the words you know.”

She did a shared reading of one part of the book and asked us to tell our group which are the POP OUT SENTENCE or MAIN IDEA SENTENCE and which seems more DETAIL SENTENCES. As she read, she got us to think about what weather is and if all our book club books are related to weather (the other club topics were tornado, hurricane, and volcanoes). Soon our club figured out together that weather only happens in the air so earthquakes are NOT weather.

The last tool she had us try was to listen to a complicated description from the book. Then liten a 2nd time ans SKETCH it. Because I listened and listened again and visualized a sketch, I really got the part of the book about how the sun interacts with the light and moving air to create weather. Here’s my sketch that I used to teach my club my idea after hearing the passage read twice:

Then Emily sent us off to do this kind of work in our book.
What vocabulary words need to be in a bank to help us talk about our book in our club?
What are the Main Idea Sentences and the Detail Sentences?
What text structure is being used to organize the information?
What parts might a sketch help the reader to hold onto the information to then teach it to their club?

Questions to Think About When Planning a NF Read-aloud:
 * Think about the skill you want to model (visualize, synthesis, main idea/detail)?
 * What tool might help (vocab word bank / a map / a timeline / a ranking system)?
 * What is the teaching point and how will you teach (think-aloud, prompt for turn and talks or stop and jots)?
 * When will you have kids have a conversation (w/partner, club or whole group)?

Emily introduced us to the Reading Pathway Learning Progressions. She described them as tiny steps within the skills used to read fiction and nonfiction. The 2 sets of skills are divided into:
1. Literal Comprehension (word work, vocab, fluency, and main idea)
2. Interpretive Comprehension (cross text synthesis / compare and contrast)
3. Analytical Comprehension (perspective / growing ideas)

To get a felt sense of the progression, she prompted me to write a summary.

Then I placed it on the SUMMARY PROGRESSION page:

and my club discussed if it was a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th grade summary. We decided mine was a 3rd grade summary because it has a main idea with details but does not use the structure of the piece to grasp the info (4th grade work). Emily pointed out that writing about reading can be annotated using the characteristics stated in the progressions. Time can be spent to revise our written comprehension to lift the level of our reading skills.

These Learning Progressions:
 * create a vision for what is possible for teaching as the skills are named, grade by grade
 * clearly can see what the next steps are in order to raise the level of a reader’s comprehension
 * clearly can see ALL the many skills that go into this task called reading

Synthesis – to create something new, new understanding, from the parts.
Ask – How do these parts fit together?
Emily suggested that we read with a different lens and then discuss our thinking with our book club.
Just as we read fiction by paying attention to characters, setting and theme, she reminded us that we can read nonfiction with these lenses:
* setting (geography)
* events (cause/effect)
* sequence / timeline
* history
* technology

I chose SEQUENCE/ TIMELINE and reread my Earthquake book, almost skimming to find DATES and I took notes, adding what I read to a timeline. It looks like this:

I loved having a lens to read with. It kept me actively reading. And when we shared in book club, I had stuff to say and stuff to show. As a group member shared her findings about the history of measuring earthquakes, I could match that info to my info. We discussed info that overlapped and new info found by each. We were very engaged and motivated to keep reading to share with our club!
Compare and Contracts – Emily pointed out that as humans, we are wired to naturally compare/contract. We are always looking for patterns to recognize. We can remind our students that this is a life skill and not just a reading skill. We categorize always. Ever since she said this, I see myself doing this. As I write, I use metaphor, a way to compare! As I read, I use my background knowledge to then compare it to what I am reading. Duh!
Emily suggested teaching this first explicitly with a book that is explicitly set up as a compare/contract (ex – Dogs vs Cats). Then move to more complex texts where it is more implied. Then try it across texts (ex – This text says ____ and this text says ____).
FInally she had the tornado club come talk to us (the earthquake club) and we had a lively discussion about what is the same and different between our topics. She reminded us that this can’t happen until each group has gathered enough information. But once they have, this is a powerful way to share about the topics that groups are reading about!
Perspective  – Start with articles where explicit opinions are being shared. 
Then move to less explicit text.
As we read, ask:
*Who is the source? 
* What is the point of view of the source? 
* If the author were involved in a debate, which side of the topic would he be on? 
* What kind of language does the author use?
I will be honest. I love fiction and almost NEVER freely choose to read nonfiction. After a week in an Earthquake Book Club and trying out ways to read my nonfiction book and discuss it with my club members, I am hooked. I do like nonfiction. Thank you, Emily!! I needed this week to immerse myself in this genre and to reading about my reading of it and to discuss it in a club. Because I did it, I now feel more confident to teach it to my 3rd graders next year!!

 

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