Thursday, July 28, 2016

Reading Strategies Book Study - Goal 6

Last week I joined up with other bloggers to read Jennifer Serravallo's book, The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide To Developing Skilled Readers

If you are just joining me for the first time in this book discussion, you might want to check out last week's review of Goal 5 {HERE}

Schoolhouse Treasures Reviews Reading Strategies Book - Goal 6: Characters

Goal 6: Thinking About Characters

Understanding characters is an important skill, only second to understanding plot and setting according to Serravallo.

Assessing character understanding would come after you know that the student(s) have an understanding of  plot and setting.  Serravallo suggests that this assessment can be simply asking questions about the character during a reading conference.

Jennifer also suggests that there is a continuum of developmental responses that you might see in their responses.  I've created a chart that outlines the types of responses and the level at which they should respond {HERE}  If a student is reading at a higher leveled book but giving you a lower level answer when discussing characters, then you know that they need more instruction in this goal.

Schoolhouse Treasures' Review of The Reading Strategies Book

The Influences on Character:

Who is it for: reader at N-Z+ Levels
Genre: fiction
The skills used: are determining cause & effect and inferring

Students need to consider all the influences on a character: setting, problems, other characters and what effects it might have on the character earlier or later in a story.

When  you study character in different situations, it will help you to see them from different viewpoints.  We can track these effects on a chart or diagram like the one below: 

Schoolhouse Treasures' Review of The Reading Strategies Book

Focus Strategy 2.jpg

Complex Characters:

Who is it for: reader at N-Z+ Levels
Genre: fiction
The skills used: comparing & contrasting; inferring

This strategy helps students to see characters are complex and not just one way.  In other words, they are like real people with many different sides to them depending on who they are around, the circumstances they face, and the setting.  

One way to do this is to create a T-chart and list the good and bad traits of the character.  Students list the ways that the character is bad and the ways he is a good person.

Click {HERE} to get a sample list of traits from Scholastic!

Another way to do this is to provide students with lists of words for traits and have them list as many as they can that describe the character.   A word wall could be made with these words and referred to throughout the year with different characters.

Creating a web with the character in the middle and then lines going off (similar to above Poppy chart) and on the lines students write the traits, but also gives evidence to show how they are the given trait.

Focus Strategy 3.jpg

A Strategy for Younger Students!
Role-Playing Characters to Understand Them Better

Who is it for: reader at F - N Levels
Genre: fiction
The skills used: inferring, visualizing, and fluency

Jennifer says that role playing helps a student to put themselves in the characters place to better understand them. Let students use puppets, props, or act out the scene with others.  Encourage them to talk and move like the character would.  

Provide these prompts too:
  • How would your character act?
  • Make the puppet talk like the voice of your character.
  • Now that the puppet acted like the character, how do you think they felt? and What kind of person do you think they are?
  • Based on what the character said or did, what are you thinking now? 

That's it for this review!  We are only highlighting a few strategies at each post.

To see with the introduction and the first 4 chapters (which I missed) click {HERE}.  This link brings you to Kelly Malloy's site An Apple For The Teacher

Join us in reading this book!  Get your own copy {HERE}

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