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Think you’re lucky to get your students to read a story once? Can’t imagine convincing a class to read a story through again? The key is giving your gifted students an enticing purpose for a reread.
Case Study: Amelia Earhart
In the Houghton Mifflin program, 6th graders read the selection “Amelia Earhart: First Lady of Flight.” It’s an interesting, non-fiction account of Earhart’s final flight and delves into the theories behind her disappearance.
First Read Through
During their first read, my students complete an activity to addresses the weekly Houghton Mifflin comprehension skill: identifying facts and opinions. My students look for facts and opinions that back up the various theories explaining Earhart’s disappearance. As an activity, they design an informational brochure supporting their favorite theory.
Second Read Through
The second time I ask students to read, I entice them up by stating:
“Amelia sure was a great pilot, right? But then again, she did crash her plane in Hawaii… and she wasn’t familiar with Morse Code… hmm, was she such a great pilot after all?”
Students then look through the selection a second time, searching for positive and negative facts about Amelia Earhart. In doing this, students are still working with the weekly comprehension skill, but at a higher level of thinking. In fact, many students struggle with the idea of negative and positive facts, asking “aren’t all facts neutral?”
After this second reading, I extend the concept further by discussing bias in non-fiction writing (also a Houghton Mifflin comprehension skill). I ask them to write biased articles about Earhart, choosing either a negative or positive viewpoint.
Give Them A (Real) Purpose
By giving students a truly interesting reason to read a story a second time, it’s possible to raise students’ level of thinking while addressing additional grade level standards. And this can be accomplished using your standard basal reader.
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