At the start of the year, our class reads the book, Wonder, to start the year. Every day, we move our tables, grab some over-sized pillows, and plop down to enjoy the story together. I purchased the Kindle version of the book, and use Kindle for Mac (free web app) to project the story through my laptop. Although I read the story out loud, my students are required to follow along to increase their reading fluency and improve their spelling pronunciation of unfamiliar words.
Before each lesson begins, I start with a mini-lesson of some sort. This past week, we have been learning about the six signposts from Notice Note: Strategies for Close Reading. I taught my students the importance of noticing these “signposts” whenever we read, and how they can really help us understand the text better when we think about or discuss them. If you look at the picture above, the red bulletin board that is empty in the picture now contains small versions of the posters cycling through at the top of this post (see slideshow below). My students have been taught to identify these signposts, share them with the class while we read, and stick a Post-It Note to the correct signpost describing the event in the story that connects. This has led to some excellent discussions!
Although I haven’t done it yet this year, there are some excellent parts of the book that I like to Xerox in order to have my students highlight their evidence when answering a specific question. This is great practice for upcoming assignments and upcoming assessments. I can model this by highlighting the text on the screen in Kindle for Mac and then adding a note to the highlighting explaining how it is evidence of the question I posed.
I feel that reading Wonder to start the year is a great way to introduce common core skills like close reading to my students, improve our reading comprehension strategies, learn tolerance and kindness, and build our classroom community. Although it takes us a while to get through the 300+ pages, there is so much that we gain from it! I highly encourage you to try out this model with your favorite book, or if you’d like, start with Wonder, by R.J. Palacio! Good luck! Please let us know below how it goes for you!
Image Credit: http://www.dinneralovestory.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/wonder.jpg