Embedded Reading

Simplify, Scaffold, Succeed!!

Archive for the category “Teachers Talk About Embedded Reading”

The Practical Question: How Do I Use An Embedded Reading?

One step at a time.

Step 1: Tell them what it is.

We are asking students to read several versions of a text.  Some students would prefer to not even read one.  We need to be transparent about our goal:  to make this reading comprehensible and accessible because _____________________________________ (you fill in the blank for the piece you’ve chosen.)

Promise them that if they stay with you, that this is going to work.  It has worked for hundreds of students across the world and it is going to work for them as well.

Step 2: Make the base reading as clear as possible.

 

The base reading is the magic ticket.  If the students really get this, the rest is easy.  Go slowly.  Make sure that each word, each phrase, each sentence is understood.   They need a clear visual of what is going on in this reading.  Crystal clear.  They may have questions about what happens next, or why something is happening (Great! We want them interested and curious!) but what is in the text should be solid.   Ask questions.  Check for comprehension.  Get a summary.  Act it out.  Illustrate it.  Whatever it takes to make sure that everyone has the same view of what is in the base reading.

Step 3:  Continue now or continue later?

Whatever is best for the students.  Other than that, it doesn’t matter.  Really.  If they are still with you, you are prepared and you have enough time, goon to the next version.  If not, wait until you meet again.

Step 4: Introduce the next level.

If time has passed since using the base reading, review or reread it.  It won’t take long.  It will also let you see if everyone really understood it.   How?  You know the age level, reading level and temperament of your students.  Silently, read-pair-share, ask questions….you choose.

Step 5: Read the next level of the reading using a different approach or followed by a different activity.  

 

The goal is to have repetitions of the reading, not to repeat the activity.   That is a sure-fire way to lose student interest.   As you read, make sure to have students identify new language and new information.   Check for comprehension.  Engage in conversation with your students about the piece.  Encourage them to ask questions, note plot twists,make predictions.

Make sure that you have a short follow-up activity for this version.  As long as it is concise, connected to the goals and students will be able to do it successfully, it is a good activity!!   Questions, a quick game, a story board, a summary, etc.   Start with the activities that have already brought your students success.   Look for other ideas to add to your repertoire…you will many more opportunities to use them!!!

Repeat Steps 3, 4 and 5 until the students have read all of the versions of the piece.

The key is to go back to the questions you started with during planning.    If the reading has been scaffolded well, and the activities chosen align with the goals, your students will be able to do this very sucessfully!!!

Teachers have successfully read all of the versions of a reading in two days, or over the course of two weeks.  For more examples of activities, read through the entries in the Category: Using Readings With Students on the right hand side of the page.

Hint: Do not force an unwilling and resistant class too far.   It won’t be worth it.  It would be great if they read all five versions of _____________.  But if they only get through three versions, so be it.

Hint:  If a class has students with a variety of reading levels, allow faster-processing students to read the most advanced version independently while you work with students who need support through a less-strenuous version.

Next post:  Feedback from other teachers who use Embedded Readings.

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

The Philosophical Question: How Do I Use An Embedded Reading?

Any way that your professional experience and your knowledge of your students tells you to.

Seriously.

 Ask yourself a few questions about the reading before you get started:

1. Why do you want your students to work with this piece? (This is good to know. You may have to defend your choice.)

2. Why will your students want to work with this piece? (If you cannot come up with a good reason, it will be hard to convince them to do it.)

3.  What do you want them to be able to do when they are finished working with this piece? (Use that piece in whatever ways necessary to make that happen.)

4.  What activities do your students already do that help them to achieve the goal(s) identified in #3?  (adapt those to use with a version of the reading.  The things that you ALREADY DO SUCCESSFULLY are the best place to start.)

Connect your activities to your goals.

My goals as a teacher, and my goals for my students, are not the same as yours.

I’ll share mine so that you can understand the activities that I have mentioned for the readings that I use, but you will have to connect your goals to your instruction. ( If you are not about how to do that, please ask.  Many people read this blog and will happily share ideas!)

My Goals:

I teach for comprehension.

Students acquire language when they understand it.   Every time I ask students to read, it must BECOME comprehensible.

I teach for success.

I plan for my students to be successful.   I ask them to focus, to think, to take chances, to adapt, to stretch, to learn from mistakes but every single activity is geared towards success.

I teach so that my students will have a better understanding of the world.

We live in an ever-changing world full of constants.  Love.  Hate.  Challenge.  Triumph.  Laughter.  Tears.  The deeper their understanding of the constants, the more skilled they will be to work with the changes.

I teach so that I can sleep at night.

I try very hard not to mislead, misuse, misjudge, mistake, misread or mismanage my students.  When it happens, because I’m very human, I try to apologize, and to change what I am doing.

Problem #1: It is so easy to get caught up in having my students read a particular piece so that I am happy.  That is in direct opposition to my goals.  What makes me happy?  For a “Top Down” reading it’s beautiful literature, literature that has an emotional connection for me, literature that will impress other educators or parents, literature that makes me feel like a great teacher, articles that native speakers would read, fascinating cultural pieces.  For a “Bottom Up” reading it’s when I love the story that I created, or because I love creating Embedded Readings, because I am proud of how I used every single student contribution, or because I want to show off how well my students have written the stories that eventually became the reading.  But,  teaching should not be about me.  It should be about my students.

The Solution: Examine, realistically, the benefits FOR MY STUDENTS of reading a particular piece.  If the benefits align with my goals, then I have chosen a good piece.

Problem #2:  The piece is too difficult for my students.  It doesn’t matter how perfect the piece is, if I have to destroy it to make it comprehensible it is not the right piece for my students.  If I have to pre-teach a structure for every sentence, it is not the right piece for my students, NO MATTER HOW MUCH I LIKE IT OR WANT TO USE IT.

The Solution:  Choose, very carefully, the pieces to adapt.  Can a piece be scaffolded to BECOME comprehensible within 5 versions?  If not, re-think it’s viability for your students.

Enjoy the journey!!

 

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

Alma …game!

Here is a wonderful reading activity “game” sent to us from “Fravan” (Twitter handle) in Maine.  If you have been using Alma…this is great!!   Just click on the words below and when the window opens up, click on play below the “Game Console”  Gracias !!!

Alma Game

 

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

Despereaux, El Pequeño Gran Héroe Post #3

The class then watched the most significant parts of the movie (with other activities that can be found later next week).   They re-read their choice of the versions of the Embedded Reading.   In one of the classes, I asked each student to add five sentences of their own creation to the base reading.   For this assignment they were allowed to work with a partner.

Their “new” versions were collected and I compiled (and corrected as necessary) their sentences.

Here they are:

La sopa es muy importante al pueblo.

Es un buen libro sobre un pequeño que se imagina como héroe.

La Reina se murió.   

La sorpresa de ver una rata en su sopa la mató.

Despereaux era muy valiente.

La rata, Roscuro, se cayó en la sopa.

Todos vivían en un castillo.

Había una princesa simpática.

La lluvia no se cayó.

Nunca tenía miedo de nada.

En este mundo, todos los ratones tenían miedo de las ratas.

Despereaux era un ratón raro.

A Roscuro no le gustaba “Ratamundo.”

Era muy fuerte.

Era muy especial y tenían las orejas muy grandes.

Era completamente diferente que los otros ratones.

Era diferente que las otras ratas.

El habló con la princesa.

Todos los días no había sol ni sopa en el pueblo.

Despereaux pensaba que la princesa era ángel.

Había un cocinero que trabajaba en la cocina del castillo.

Despereaux quería ser caballero y héroe.

El hermano de Despereaux tenía mucho miedo como un ratón típico.

Despereaux tenía problemas con el Consejo de Ratones.

El rey estaba muy triste después de la muerte de su esposo.

Despereaux no era típico.

The other two classes were required to read these sentences and choose fifteen of them to add to the base reading!!    I collected those and used their ideas to create the following, more difficult, version.   I had to add additional sentences in order to make the piece cohesive.  I also added information in order to add new material from the film.  Next week I’ll post how we used this more complex version!

Movie Review

La película “Despereaux, El Pequeño Gran Héroe” es actualmente la historia de tres héroes:  un ratón que prefiere leer libros antes de comerlos, una rata poco feliz que planea dejar atrás la oscuridad y una sirvienta. Sus destinos se cruzaron y eso cambió sus pequeñas vidas.La película fue basada en el libro de Kate DiCamillo, originalmente titulado en inglés “The Tale of Despereaux.  Es un buen libro sobre un pequeño que se imagina como héroe y otros quienes nunca podían imaginarse así.

*****************************************************************************************************************

Hace mucho tiempo, El Pueblo Dor, flotaba la magia en el aire, donde todos reían y había litros y litros de sopa. La sopa es muy importante al pueblo.  Había un cocinero que trabajaba en la cocina del castillo.  Todos los días el cocinero preparaba la sopa. 

 

Había también en el castillo una princesa simpática, y sus padres, el Rey y la Reina del pueblo.   Era un mundo muy feliz.

 

Pero algo destrozó el corazón del rey, le dio tristeza a la princesa y dejó al pueblo muy triste. ¿Qué pasó?  La Reina se murió.   Durante una celebración de la sopa, la celebración más importante del año, una rata se cayó inesperadamente en su sopa.   La sorpresa de ver una rata en su sopa la mató.

 

La rata culpable fue condenada.   Actualmente, todas las ratas del pueblo fueron condenadas.    Fueron expulsadas y formaron “Ratamundo.”  A la rata culpable, quien se llamaba Roscuro, no le gustaba “Ratamundo.” 

 

El Rey estaba muy triste después de la muerte de su esposa. La ausencia de las ratas cambió la balanza del medio ambiente del pueblo tanto que la lluvia ya no se caía.  El sol ya no se veía. Todos los días ya no había sol ni sopa en el pueblo.  Ya no había esperanza en una tierra donde desapareció el sol y no había sopa. El mundo se convirtió a gris.

 

Hasta que nació Despereaux Tilling. Era un ratón muy especial y tenían las orejas muy grandes.  Despereaux era un ratón raro.  ¿Por fue considerado tan raro?  Porque, en este mundo, todos los ratones tenían miedo de las ratas, y de los seres humanos (las personas/la gente), y de todo.  Era la regla. Fueron entrenados para temer (tener miedo). Era también la regla.  Despereaux Tilling era completamente diferente que los otros ratones.  Nunca tenía miedo de nada.  Despereaux era muy valiente.  Era muy fuerte. 

 

Un día su familia insistió que Despereaux fuera con su hermano mayor para aprender ser más tímido.  El hermano de Despereaux tenía mucho miedo como un ratón típico.  Ellos fueron a la biblioteca donde su hermano le insistió a Despereaux que comiera un libro.  (Eso era normal en su mundo.  Era la regla.)  Pero Despereaux no tenía ganas (no quería) de comer el libro.  El quería leerlo en vez de comerlo.  

 

Al leer el libro Despereaux sabía que quería ser caballero y héroe.  Un día, Despereaux conoció a la princesa del castillo.  El habló con la princesa.  Despereaux pensaba que la princesa era ángel.

 

Pero era contra las reglas hablar con los seres humanos, así que cuando Despereaux le dijo a su hermano que había (had) hablado con la princesa, el hermano tuvo que decirlo a sus padres.  Era la regla.  Sus padres tuvieron que decirlo al Consejo de Ratones porque eso también era la regla.  Pobre Despereaux tenía problemas con el Consejo de Ratones.

 

El Consejo de Ratones no soportó un ratón valiente.  Era contra la regla.  Así que el pobre ratoncito fue condenado también al “Ratamundo.”

 

Film “The Tale of Desperaux” © Universal Pictures 2008

Book ©  “Desperaux” by Kate DiCamillo, published by Candlewick Press 2003.

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

 

Embedded Reading, Video and Activities: The Vampire and the Dentist

Here is the link to a wonderful SERIES of activities involving a movie clip and embedded reading.  Cynthia has an excellent blog with tons of ideas for teachers.  Hope you enjoy!!

The Dentist and the Vampire

In the post you will find the movie clip, the embedded readings in Spanish (but fairly easy to follow if you teach another language!) and the activities!!

THANK YOU CYNTHIA!!

 

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

Question #3 Changing Perspective

Matthew O wrote:

I am doing the story, La Llorona. I have developed the reading into four versions of the same telling. I am going to give a written test; whereas, the students are given captions to the story and they will need to write the story. In the fourth version, they students finally find out how the kids died. So far, I have done the first three versions. Next, I will give them a practice test missing the box where they need to draw and write how the kids died. I still need to do the fourth version and the test.

My question is this: I would like to do the fourth version in first person, instead of third person. Is this a valid way to do embedded reading? I would like to expose the students to the story in first person–Me reading the story to them, I believe would contect them more to the story.

Yet, should I do this after the test so as not to confuse the students? Or can I do it for the fourth version, and then clearly specify that they need to write it in third person? This will be the first time they will see a story completely in first person.

Thanks!

Hello Matthew!!

Wow…you’ve done several great things with this. First, if you want the to write the story in the third person, then ask them to do that before you do a first person version. Your instincts are right.

There is no rule that you can’t give an assessment before going on to a new version!! Assess when it is right to assess, and when you have finished the third person accounts, that is the right time.

Next, changing perspectives from third to first person is an EXCELLENT way to use embedded reading.

I LOVE that you are waiting until the last version to give the final details. Any time that we can leave an interesting or surprising detail until the end, we keep the readers in suspense!

Because you are reading the story, and the change in perspective is in context, they will have little or no problem with the “new” endings. Consider using the part where they draw the ending as a follow-up activity.

If you are willing to share your reading with other teachers, I can post it there with the other readings that teachers have shared.

So great to hear from you!

 

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

Goal #2 Working Backwards from a Text

The second way to use Embedded Reading is to deliberately scaffold new structures and vocabulary. This works very well when we are creating a Top-Down reading (ie a longer finished piece that we break down into the scaffolded versions) like the example below.

Step 1: Locate or create a text that students will be able to comprehend at the end of the chapter/unit.

Step 2: Identify the new structures that students will need to know.

Step 3: Create an Embedded Reading from the chosen text. There is a “method” to this. You can find explanations on the website, but keep in mind as you create the reading is that each new level should only incorporate a few new structures at a time. People who have done it before will help if you ask!!

Step 4: Identify the 1-3 structures (depending on the level of that students) to introduce to students that will appear in the base reading.

Step 5: Establish meaning, use PQA, practice with gestures, ask a story, etc.

Step 6: Read the base reading with students. Incorporate a reading activity if desired.

Step 7: Identify the structures needed in the next version of the story.

Repeat steps 5, 6 and 7 as needed!!!

I believe that this is what many of our Latin colleagues do when they have a particular piece of literature to work with. I hope that James chimes in with how he and other Latin teachers are using Embedded Reading in their classrooms!!!

 

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

Ideas for Goal #1

The students are primarily reading vocabulary and structures that they have seen and heard before. That doesn’t mean that they have mastered them, but they aren’t completely unknown or perplexing. We can use a variety of types of text:
1. Reading based on PQA:
It could be a reading about a class or an individual. It doesn’t have to be exactly what was talked about in class, but it could be a spin-off from a conversation. Michele’s example was based on PQA. Once I was PQA’ing “woke up” and a student told us about a time at camp that he woke up in his cot, on a raft, floating in the lake. I used that to create an embedded reading. “woke up” was a fairly new phrase, but everything else was very familiar.
2. Reading based on familiar story:
It could be a story asked in class, the plot of a familiar novel, television show or movie, or a video used in Movie Talk (see Michele’s blog!)
3. Reading created from students’ writing:
There are a number of ways to make this work…I think it might take a post of it’s own….
4. Reading adapted/created by the teacher:
We find a text that we know that our students could read, with a little encouragement. So we use that text and create an Embedded Reading. Or, we write one!!! These are a great way for teachers to collaborate and divide up the work. We have done this several times in our department. One teacher will get an idea and write it up, then share it with others.

There are other options…but that is a good start.

 

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

 

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

Goal #1 Closing the “perception” gap

The neat thing about Embedded Reading is that although the concept is simple, there are a myriad of ways to use it. The way a reading is created and used should depend upon the goal. I’ll post a few goals, one at a time in separate posts. Here’s the first: RAISING PERCEIVED READING LEVELS (ie building confidence!!)

As second language teachers we are always dealing with two reading levels for each student: the ability level and the perceived ability level. As with most things, perception is often reality and the functional level is the perceived ability level of the students. (I don’t know if there is research about the affective filter in readers, but that would be fascinating to know….we’ve all seen it anecdotally!!) So when we pull out a novel, their reaction is “I can’t read that!!”, even though we know that they can.

Embedded Reading was originally developed in order to narrow the gap between what students CAN comprehend and what they THINK that they comprehend.

The first version is written to be a clear, comprehensible summary or outline of the text. Each additional version adds information or details by injecting additional words or structures into the reading. A combination of easily recognizable text and slightly more challenging text is added. There should not be an enormous leap between successive versions of the text.

Ideally, with this type of reading, the third or fourth version of the text should be at a level that is the true ability level of the majority of the class. The teacher may want to create a version or two that are at the ability level of the more advanced readers in the class.

This type of embedded reading doesn’t need a lot of “activity” to go with it, if the students are engaged in the reading!! If they are reading and comprehending and engaged…life is good!!! Ideally, students could read independently through the levels and become better readers. It is a gradual, gentle way to get students reading longer, more detailed, more complex text that uses language that they are already familiar with. The more challenging versions may include unfamiliar cognates or a few new vocabulary words that will be recognizable in context.

The reality is that we are reading in a classroom, with a number of distractions and a need to monitor who is engaged and who is not. THAT is the reason for activities that go along with the reading. So the teacher can choose from a variety of activities:
• Translate out loud.
• “Circle” information.
• Act out the reading.
• Illustrate the reading.
• T/F questions
• Modified multiple choice questions ( two or three choices rather than four)
• Multiple choice questions
• Predicting the information/action in the next version.
Or WHATEVER reading activities you choose that will allow you to monitor comprehension AND maintain student interest.
By spiraling through the versions of the story, we can keep the students’ interest, get them to read far greater amounts of text and build confidence! Reading longer texts, with more complex language, will help them to become better at visualizing, connecting, interacting and predicting….along with a number of other reading skills. Utilizing a variety of activities with the reading can help students to develop higher-level thinking skills and keep students engaged.

Summary:
One goal Embedded Reading is to increase students’ perception of their own reading abilities.
When this is the goal, the versions should contain mostly words and structures which are familiar to the students.
Each version of the text is slightly longer and more complex than the previous version.
A motivated reader could progress through the versions of the reading independently.
Activities used are designed so that the teacher check for comprehension and keep students’ engaged.

 

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

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

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

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