Monday, February 16, 2015

Finding Evidence in Reading Passages

This school year is over for me and it's only February! Being home on maternity leave has given me the opportunity to keep my 3 1/2 year old daughter, who's been in preschool since she was 2, home with me and the newest little one.  Since my leave backs up into summer we will have a good amount of time altogether. Some have called me crazy but so far so good on the newborn/preschooler front. (And I get my teaching fix working with my little girl on her sight words, seasons, handwriting, math, etc, etc.)

I did however make the mistake of sending her to school for one day before deciding to keep her home with us and boom! she (and I) caught a cold. Nothing new to a #teachermom amirite?! Having a newborn and a cold is a new plot twist though. Imsotiredhelpme   
Being on maternity leave has also given me a head start on thinking about what I want my classroom and curriculum to be like next year.  Okay, obsessing over what I want my classroom and curriculum to be like next year. I have created a new word wall (and word wall activities), and homework club printables.
I love my purple ombre word wall!

Something I did find pretty effective this year compared to my first was using more passages for students' independent work instead of a book from their book baggies.  I still made sure they had plenty of access and time to delve into Diary of a Wimpy kid for the 42nd time, but these days, kids really need exposure to articles and passages. They need to search the text, reread, site evidence... and all the other testing buzz words we're sick of hearing. Sad but true, these babies need to be comfortable with the fact that you aren't always reading for enjoyment. You won't always be reading content that you're interested in. Sometimes you're reading just for the straight up knowledge. 
Don't get me wrong. Reading for enjoyment is what I hope all of students are doing at school and at home! I love the idea of Flashlight Friday for reading time, buddy reading in the classroom library, and of kids building memories with books. {I will always remember and love Sideways Stories from Wayside School!} The reality is though, that they also need to be comfortable with printed articles and passages. But hey, finding evidence is passages can be fun too right? Right? ... RIGHT? Anyone? *this is when you desperately bust out the highlighters, glitter pens, colored pencils, and balloon animals for students to underline their answers in the article*
At my school, my amazing team and I have created all of our unit tests for reading. This gave me pretty great practice with creating relevant (to common core) and rigorous test questions. The kind a student might see on a standardized test (ew). I wrote ten passages with text-dependent questions to use in my small groups, as assessments for standards, and as test prep in my own classroom. If you're looking to build your students' reading response skills this resource might be helpful for you too. Check out the bundle HERE or by clicking the picture below.  Four FREE passages are available in the preview.

Do you use reading passages in your room or mostly books?

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