Starting Out: Using the Base Reading with Students
Once teachers understand how an embedded reading is put together, they often have questions on how to use them with students. I hope to post comments that I have received from other teachers who share their successes to give you some ideas. In the meantime, here are some ideas on how to use the most crucial reading: the base reading.
The base reading is very important. Hopefully it is clearly written and comprehensible. If you find that it isn’t…adapt it!!!! That is the beauty of Embedded Reading…you can, and should, use your professional skills to make the best possible pieces for your students.
What you do with the base reading, as always, depends on the age, interests and level of your students. Keep in mind the two main goals:
a. Clearly convey the main ideas using key vocab and structures.
b. Connect the readers to the text.
Luckily, achieving goal the first goal helps to achieve the second goal! Here are a list of possible activities using the base reading. Feel free to utilize MORE than one !!! The better students understand, and the more connected students feel, the more successful the following versions will be. Observe your students. Resist the urge to do what you want to do….which is to go on…Honor the base story so that students realize how important REALLY mastering this piece is.
Hint…for a class students who consider themselves “advanced” and who might scoff at so much attention to the base reading, just do one of the activities listed and really dig into the second version with a variety of activities. :o)
1. Illustrate the base reading in a story board, puzzle board (story board out of order), or mural format.
2. Students point to illustrations as they listen to the reading (in order or out of order). This can be done on a teacher-created handout (I make mine from student drawings) or on drawings that they each have done. (Make it a bit more fun…they can “race” with a partner to find it if they choose)
3. Have students create a graphic organizer with the base reading information, incorporating a format that reflects the content of the reading. (i.e. A reading about the Olympics could become a graphic organizer in the form of the Olympic rings.)
4. Compare the information in the reading to information that the students already know (talk about a similiar situation/story, show a related video clip etc.)
5. Rewrite the piece with several factual errors, have students identify errors and change to the correct information. Errors can be practical or ridiculous.
6. Compare any characters/individuals who may appear in the reading with characters/individuals that are well-known to students.
7. With students, compile three questions that the class would like answered. What doesn’t the base reading say? What does the class want to know?
8. Rewrite the base reading in different (but totally comprehensible) words/phrases to achieve the same message.
9. Predict what information may be missing from the base reading.
10. Create a format for saving base readings: a mini-journal, art portfolio, sentence strip display etc.
Other ideas??? Please share!
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Thank you so much for this explanation. I am confused, however, with some of the ideas and how they are incorporated. For instance, suggestion #2: If this is the base reading, I thought this was the first time the students would have read the story/narration. When would they have illustrated it in order to use it as a base reading?
Thanks for the questions Christiane. I’m going to put my response in a post and put it up here for you sometime in the next 24 hours.