I REALLY enjoyed this chapter! I am taking away so many strategies that I will put to use in my classroom next year.
I love Gallagher's idea of focusing on the three aspects of "what does the text say, what does the text do, and what does the text mean"... and I will be using the summarizing strategies he shared as well as the idea about using factoids and infographics to have student discussions and help them learn how to make claims.
I also liked his idea about texts that weave nonfiction into fiction. I plan to find a copy of Factory Girl and A Pioneer Sampler to introduce this idea to my students... and then want to have them incorporate doing this into some fiction selections that we read together next year.
I know I didn't answer the question that was asked, but I really loved this chapter for the ideas it is giving me for next year, so I had to share! I look forward to everyone else's reactions to this chapter and getting their ideas as well about pairing fiction and nonfiction.
I echo all of your comments, Stacie! I'm excited to implement many of the reading strategies mentioned in this chapter in my classroom this year. I focus on the concepts of main idea and summarizing for much of the start of the school year, but I'm looking forward to using new strategies like "17 word summaries" and "write a headline" to breathe new life into my curriculum. I also love the idea of using different mediums to work through many of the topics we cover anyway (like TED talks, newspaper articles, wikipedia, and pictures).
When Gallagher began giving ideas for how to move students into deeper thinking (creating inferences, drawing conclusions), I knew I was reading some valuable stuff. I hate the question, "So what do I write down?" and feel like many of the strategies discussed do not allow for that type of student participation.
In this chapter, I think Gallagher's discussion of "reading like a writer" and "recogniz[ing] the 'moves' a writer is making" (32) is brilliant. It's not that this is a revolutionary idea, but his presentation of the way it should work in a classroom is just simple enough to make it seem obvious *and* incredibly effective. Often, I find myself giving the students rules to follow in their writing, but I don't think I do a great job of teaching them WHY they should follow those rules (for example, I ban passive voice . . . but why?). Asking the students to read mentor tests that follow--or defy--rules like these can help students to figure out how "moves" like using passive voice can work for or against an author. When might passive voice be more effective? Why would an author use it? And, conversely, why do we often discourage students from using passive voice? Why shouldn't they use it ALL the time?
I also appreciate the idea of the "window quote" (22-23); I think that this could be a useful way to pair fiction/nonfiction if taken a step further--what window quote might provide the best link between a nonfiction article and a fictional text? Or what TWO window quotes demonstrate the connection that exists between two works.
So our group is this small? :-). Preaching to the choir, eh? It's fun being in a conversation where you know everyone. This chapter reinforces a lot of what I do; it's great to see old ideas through someone else's eyes. I will be flipping to this chapter frequently to refresh. One thing he said that is so important.. and I feel I need to be more mindful; find the balance between having them close read and notetake AND know when it is too much. I do have students who in the end of the year self-assessment who say they will never read the same way again once they've learned to do this, but they often say it got tedious. I like to think that practice makes it such that they can internalize a lot of it without having to do extensive notes, but they are used to bulldozing and missing a great deal. I am not familiar with the Greenwood books.... will definitely check those out as I love to use fiction to propel investigation into a topic. I love anything multigenre. Last time I taught ninth grade, it was the whole Malala story while we were reading fiction and essays set in Afghanistan getting at the whole education (especially for girls) piece; it made it more real. I find for me that learning about something through fiction fires up my interest in a way that straight up text cannot always. I love that there's a whole new genre called "creative non-fiction" that blends the two. Kids seem to like that, too.
It's becoming clear to me that the instruction I do in my AP class is what I should be doing in my general classes. Not surprising, I guess, but I suppose I need to be whacked in the head with obvious realizations every so often.
As for ideas, I often set up a LiveBinder with non-fiction articles that relate to what we're reading as a class. Then the articles are available & I can color-code them and assign them in chunks or let students choose between the three red ones, for example.
Well I would echo Jen's comments about teaching our students to read like writers--it just reinforces what we know we should be doing and gives us permission to do it! I hadn't seen the info graphic on Why Read, which could be a cool way to start the year off, and I loved his ideas like the 17-word summary. Some were not new, and some were great and I wished I had thought of them myself. And Dee, I think until everyone gets back from their assorted trips, the group will seem small. I think many people plan to do this.
The breakdown of standards into three focus areas really caught my attention. Of course we discuss what the text says and means, but this perfectly conveys what I want my students to express after reading. I will certainly be using these questions to guide students as they think about and respond to reading.
As a reading specialist, I use a sequential intervention program and don't have the option to pull my own fiction and nonfiction pairings. I do see that many of the strategies Gallagher discusses could be used with the program and my elementary students. I am particularly drawn to the 17-word Summary. Many of my students have a very hard time determining what should go into a summary and as a result, they throw in everything but the kitchen sink. I have used a variation of the noticing strategy for "What does the text do?" I can now see greater possibilities for noticing what the writer does as we read more deeply.
Although my students are younger than Gallagher’s (fourth grade), I saw a lot of ways his ideas could be modified for my folks. Some ideas I plan to use are writing a headline. My students really like the app News-O-Matic. This would be my resource of appropriate examples of headlines and articles. I also liked having students create group summaries after taking some notes. Of course, they may need more guidance and talking through the process than older students. I also like having students take a look at what is left out of a summary. My students often have difficulty differentiating between an interesting fact/event and an important fact/event. The fourth activity I want to work more with next year is breaking the lines in poetry and teaching students how to better think about the placement of words in a poem. Finally, I have been mindful of keeping a balance with close reading (I know I could go overboard in this area).
I will be ordering the De/Compositions book by Snodgrass that Gallagher references in the section on editing. I find that potential assignment really captivating- to edit to change meaning. It’s reminiscent of many memes you see nowadays, and I think it would be fun/interesting to see what new meanings students could wring out of sayings or quotations.
Kimber Tate, Coordinator of English, Reading and Libraries