SharpReading BLOG

Thoughts About Teaching Reading


What Should Follow-Up Reading Activities Look Like?

During my time in the classroom I have spend a huge amount of time thinking aIn the middle and upper primary school, follow-up activities are an organisational necessity if you want to be able to spend time doing the real work - guided reading with small ability groups.

Here is my list of follow-up shoulds and a shouldn’t that have stuck with me over the years.

Follow-up Activities...
1. SHOULD be preceded by guided reading of the text
An instructional programme that requires students to read a passage independently and then work on some follow-up activities isn’t an instructional reading programme – there is no instruction. Guided reading ensures that the text has been unpacked and understood. The reader is now ready to do something with the information.

2. SHOULD be preceded by explicit teaching of the strategies and thinking required by the activity
If an activity is going to be meaningful for the learner there should be a clear explanation and some modelling of what is required. Give students many opportunities with the same activity so that they can develop some fluency with the strategies involved. The challenge comes from applying the same activity to new content.

3. SHOULD be seen as an important part of ‘after reading’ comprehension strategy development
A chance to revisit text and think more deeply about the information or the message that has been read has great benefits for the reader. Under the umbrella of ‘Use it or Lose It’, reworking or deeper processing of ideas and information makes it more memorable (assists transference from short term memory to long term memory), teaches the reader to be strategic about the information they read and as such, empowers and motivates them. 

4. SHOULD involve choice and challenge
Providing a variety of activities that cater for individual learning preferences is very motivating for the learner. Working with thinking tools such as Bloom’s Taxonomy provide readers with powerful schemas for their own metacognition and transfers across all learning.

5. SHOULD have an audience
Doing endless work for the teacher has a very limited appeal. The brilliant and creative thinking that goes into challenging follow-up activities must find the light of day – you much have a system for publishing best work, a chance to share it with the class. 

6. SHOULDN'T go on and on for ever
The reading programme shouldn’t be dominated by follow-up activities. There should be a natural flow from the intensity of a guided reading lesson, a time for follow-up and further study of that text, followed by a personal reading programme for mileage – a chance to practice and habitualise the strategies you are teaching. Make sure they understand that the reading programme is about READING. 

Our reading resources have been written to support you with all of the above. Click here for a FREE sample "The Cassawary" from our ‘Reading across the Curriculum 3: BIRDS’  to see how we have done this with Non Fiction text.

Coming Next: A Closer Look at Using Bloom’s Taxonomy


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