Reading Response in Middle and High School

Whew, it's been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me. I had AP training at the end of June, and then I attended the ILA (International Literacy Association) conference in St. Louis this past weekend. Summer is winding down; school is coming up. I'm pooped! I'm also pretty excited about all the stuff that I learned at the ILA conference. I attended sessions on close reading, text-dependent questions, engagement, and more. One of my favorite sessions was on reading responses.

Let's be honest, I'm not a huge fan of drill and answer questions. I don't like a one size fits all approach. It gets soooo boring. I am realistic though. In my class, if there's not some type of grade or requirement attached to reading, it probably ain't gonna happen. Now some of my students love reading. Others, not so much. This session, presented by Marilyn Pryle from Abington Heights High School, mixed it up for me though. It gave me a way to have students respond with thoughtful cited reading responses without things getting monotonous.

The first standard in the CCSS for my grade level is, "CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain." This session gave me a great way of addressing this standard and still keeping it interesting.

First off, each reading response had three requirements.
1. "Make your entry at least four complete sentences" (You can modify this to fit your students' needs.)
2. "Give the page number, paragraph, or line number of the part (of the text) that you are responding to" (What a great way to sneak in citation practice!)
3. Mention which type of reading response entry you are using. (More on that in a minute.)

Clear expectations set kids up to succeed!

Then the session went on to give a list of 15 Reading Response entries that the students could use as scaffolding to build their inferences about the text. Each type comes with a title (so that students can label their response) and a few statements or questions to help them gather and mold their thoughts.

A few of the listed options
-Significant passage.
-Theme recognition.
-Mark the motivation.
-Cite the claim.

You can see a page with some of the RR options on it here. As you can see, if you check out the link, each of these RR options had a brief statement or question to guide student thinking.  My students often say, "I don't know what to write," or "I don't have anything to say." This gives them ideas about where to start without too much scaffolding.It also keeps me from reading the same reading response from every student in the room. Praise the Lord.

The session also offered a "level up" group of 10 RR options geared toward challenging our students.

A few of the options for those are listed.
-Archetype alert
-Feminist criticism.
-Cultural Connection

This is straightforward, but pretty life-changing for me. No more passing out task cards and having students write the question they chose, so I can know what they're responding to. I don't have to read the same response 60 times. It allows my students a way to begin to shape and direct their thinking about the text. It ties in textual evidence and inferences: what more could I want. Let's just say it was a fabulous.

Marily Pryle was an amazing presenter! The workshop was hands on, informative, and fun! She wrote a book titled 50 Common Core Reading Response Activities that includes all of the RR options for the on-level and level up options, as well as other great ideas. I just order mine and will be sure to post a review when I get finished reading!

Thanks for stopping by!

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