Embedded Reading

Simplify, Scaffold, Succeed!!

Now What? Base Reading and Activities

So you have an embedded reading, and you want to use it with students…Now What?!!!

Well, let’s first look at WHY you want to read this particular piece with students. If you haven’t read “Why Read The Last Version?”, please do! If you know where you are headed with an embedded reading, everything else is easier!

The best place to start when making Now What? decisions is to determine your goals:

1. The Base Reading

Let’s use this base reading in English as an example:

Students are uniting to draw attention to a very important issue. The movement has inspired events in a number of countries. One student in particular has received a lot of attention for her actions. Politicians are not sure how to respond to this movement.

1A. Your first goal for the base reading should always be complete and total comprehension. It’s the core of every other level and so we want to make sure that it is understood. The following can be very helpful:

  • Illustration: Using a blank storyboard, students illustrate each sentence of the base reading. You can then have them compare drawings and add necessary details, or use a picture you have taken of student work/use a document reader to project student work to discuss using the base reading.
  • Gestures: If there is a lot of “gesture-able” vocabulary in the text, students can gesture the meaning of sections of the text as you read it. (ie. uniting, inspired, has received, are not sure)
  • Acting: If the reading lends itself to this, you can use student actors to act out the text as you read/narrate. You can also have students get into pairs or groups, with each student “taking the part” of a character. The teacher reads/narrates and in small groups each student character acts out the sentence read. (For the reading above, after reading for meaning, give small groups 3 minutes to decide how to act it out as you read!)

Regardless of what you choose, the goal and focus of the activity is on understanding the meaning of the text as completely as possible!

1B. Your second goal for the base reading is for it to be interesting!! You are going to try to convince a group of students to read and reread text….there must be something compelling in the base reading that pulls them towards the next level.

Here are some suggestions:

  • This topic may be something students already know something about. Ask students to share (in the TL or in L1 and you restate/rewrite in the TL) what they already have heard/read/seen about the topic. Keep this list to compare to the following versions so students can see their own knowledge appear!
  • Because this reading is just the beginning, a great activity is to create questions about what students DON’T yet know! The first few times you do this, I suggest that you do it together with students as a class activity. Imagine that you are writing to the author/reporter of the base reading and form questions asking for specific information about what might be in the next reading!
    Ideas based on the base reading above:

         What is the important issue?
         Why is it important?
         What kind of events are taking place?
         In which countries are they taking place?
         Who is the student who is receiving a lot of attention and where is she from?
         How are politicians responding?

        Are students in the U.S. participating in this movement?

  • This is also a great place to brainstorm predictions!! Again, model this first by doing this as a class activity. Ideas:

         More and more countries will be involved.
         Politicians will criticize the students.
         Students from the U.S. will be interested and want to be included.

These activities will all work with simple texts and stories!!  There are more, but we will look at those in the next post!!


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