Pre-reading activities with novels

pre reading activities with novels edcampciva

To build up to EdCampCIVa, we wanted to share CI activities that we are doing in our classes.  Many teachers use whole class novels to facilitate comprehensible input.  As the field continues to grow, there are many comprehensible and interesting novels.  (Many of the publishers of these novels are helping with the raffle, so you can win some of their books!)  However, it can seem daunting to teach with novels especially if you have not done so previously.  First, you need to make sure that the chapter will be accessible by making sure you use some pre-reading activities.

It is important that your students can easily understand the chapter.  Many times, this involves pre-teaching key target words or vocabulary.  You can implement this in a variety of ways.  One of my favorite activities to do is do a MovieTalk on the vocabulary.  (If you haven’t read about MovieTalk, then check back on our previous post last year!)  For example, I wanted to review the verb “to want” in Spanish.  We were also discussing pistols which helped as well.  Using the MovieTalk database, I found the video clip Carrot Crazy.  Before we read, we watched this movie as I continued to recycle the key vocabulary that I wanted students to remember.  Another way to introduce key vocabulary is through PQA or personalized questions and answers.  In my upper level Spanish V classes, we have been reading La Calaca Alegre.  In chapter 4, the characters discuss memories.  Before reading, we discussed students’ memories and funny anecdotes.  This also helps expose students to the words that they will come across in reading.  When you encounter them in the reading, you can point back to the key words on the board.

If you are 1:1 with computers, another fun way to review key words is through Pear Deck Vocabulary.  This technology splits up the words and one student has to write the definition or use the word in a sentence.  That student’s partner draws a picture of the word.  With the next word, students switch roles.  At the end, the whole class views the sentences and examples of the partners.  This is one of my students’ favorite activities!  If you do not have 1:1 technology, you could give students the key words and have them use the words in a sentence and draw a picture on a piece of paper.  Then students could complete a gallery walk of the words.

Another fun activity to do involves an anticipation guide.  Based on the chapter, I write 5-6 true/false statements.  Without reading, students predict if the statements are true or false.  They can also share their predictions with their classmates or vote as a class.  You do not reveal the answer.  Then, while they are reading, they check to see if their answer was actually correct.  I tried this during a professional development session, and I was really engaged to see if my answers were actually true.  I also didn’t feel bad if my answers were wrong because I hadn’t read the selection previously.  This will also recycle the vocabulary that students will see in the chapter.

You could also use manipulatives before reading.  You can find four to five sentences in the reading.  Then you can type them and cut them up.  You could probably cut up some chunks and then leave some individual words.  I would probably mostly do chunks to make sure that it isn’t too confusing.  As students read, they try to find their sentences to see if they were combined them correctly.  They can also fix them as they read.

Finally, you can have students activate prior vocabulary knowledge by doing a brain dump.  You can come up with categories of words that will be featured in the chapter.  Before reading, give students a category (such as food, animals or even just verbs!) and give students 30 seconds to a minute to brainstorm all of the words that they can remember.  Then, you can review them as a class.  Many times this helps students review old words that you have highlighted.  Also, by giving students time to process, I have found that many students volunteer to share that don’t always volunteer with some other activities.

Now, it is your turn!  What pre-reading activities do you like to do before reading a chapter in a novel?  As more people share, we will add to the list!

(Also- want to learn more?  Don’t forget to sign up to come to our Edcamp on June 28!)

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