Embedded Reading

Simplify, Scaffold, Succeed!!

Michele Outlines ER examples

I change how I do ER, depending on the situation. Right now, my beginning students are reporting on what they did (or would have liked to have done) over the holiday. Each person gets one sentence to start with, and we add a few stories each day. They all drew pictures so that everyone can understand the visual.

Day 1: Atticus was sleeping. Grant was skiing. Wilton was not skiing. Michelle went to The Hobbit.

The next day, we read what we’ve written, and I ask some questions. I add the answers to the next day’s reading, and continue finding out what happened to other kids.

Day 2: Atticus was sleeping on the beach in Spain. Grant was skiing with his family at Alyeska. Wilton was not skiing; he was in a hot tub with girls. Arianna went to The Hobbit with her brother. Michelle flew to Hawaii. James was playing hockey. Iara was shopping. Jack was helicopter skiing in the Alps.

Day 3: Atticus was sleeping on the beach in Spain and reading “Origin of the Species.” Grant was skiing with his family at Alyeska. It was raining. Wilton was not skiing; he was in a hot tub with girls. Arianna went to The Hobbit with her brother. She really liked the movie, but her brother didn’t. Michelle flew to Hawaii with friends for five days. James was playing hockey. His team was training at Ben Boeke Stadium. They weren’t playing any games. Iara was shopping. She searched for a t-shirt for her brother for three hours downtown. Jack was helicopter skiing in the Alps.

(I don’t know how many days it will take us to get through the entire class…at least three more. We do this activity for about 20 minutes, while they still want to continue.)

With another class, we are reading a complex fairy tale. I took the original and cut it down into two successively simpler pieces. We read the first and the second piece in one day, because the first one was short enough that they could get the gist of the story: The goose-swans took Masha’s brother away. She searched for him. She found him in Baba Yaga’s house. She carried him away and took him home.

They drew pictures of that, and we went on to the next version the same day, after acting out some verbs of motion that they were going to need.

The next day, we played a game with a set of verbs, some familiar, some not, practiced with some diminutive forms, and then predicted how the story would proceed. Finally we read the last version with all the details. I still have to decide what we’re going to do tomorrow. They might get to retell it with back story. They might get to retell it with twists. They might get to tell a parallel story. I’ll probably start with a barrage of questions to help them remember the story. We might end up talking about fairy tale structure, or compare Russian fairy tales to American ones. Who knows!

As you can see, it can be quite different, and whatever way you choose to do it is is probably right! There are only a few key pieces:

1. Make sure that the kids can visualize the first piece confidently.
2. Change the activities for each successive version.
3. Add new (sometimes surprising) information in the middle of the continued versions, so that all the new information is not at the end of the piece.
4. Make sure that all the new information is not necessarily “harder.”
5. Consider making a first version in sentences that are separated by empty space, and pulling those sentences together into a paragraph for the next version.

Students can contribute to the extended versions. Upper level kids can contribute. Lower level kids can add to the versions after learning some new vocabulary. Students can write simple stories in English for the teacher to use in a three-level embedded story. The teacher, or an advanced student can “reduce” and simplify a complex text. (It’s a great job for a native speaker.)

That’s all for now! Hope it helps.

Michele

 

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One thought on “Michele Outlines ER examples

  1. Really liked what you had to say in your post, Michele Outlines ER examples Embedded Reading, thanks for the good read!
    — Torri

    http://www.terrazoa.com

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