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Rethinking the whole class novel
Rethinking the whole class novel
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Rethinking the whole class novel


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  • 1. Rethinking the Whole Class Novel Donalyn Miller thebookwhisperer@gmail.comI. Whole Class Novel Benefits a. Provides a common text for instructional purposes and reference. b. Assures students read at least a few books. c. Exposes students to works with cultural, historical or literary significance.II. Whole Class Novel Concerns a. No single text can meet the reading levels or interests of the wide range of readers in a classroom. b. Novel units take too long. Students cannot read enough to develop strong literacy skills. c. Extensions and fun activities reduce authentic reading, writing, and thinking and send the message that reading is not innately valuable.III. Streamlining Whole Class Novels a. Shorten the amount of time you spend reading one book. b. Strip units of activities like projects and vocabulary work. c. Alternate whole class novel units with independent reading units. d. Use read alouds and shared reading, particularly with difficult text. e. Provide students time to read in class and receive support from you.IV. Benefits of Read Alouds a. Reinforces to students that reading is enjoyable. b. Builds background knowledge. c. Increases vocabulary and introduces words in context. d. Provides a fluent reading role model. e. Creates common literacy experiences for the class that can be referred to over time. f. Allows students to focus on comprehension rather than decoding.V. Benefits of Shared Reading a. All of the benefits of read alouds. b. Engages readers in an interactive reading experience. c. Provides visual support for vocabulary. d. Increases reading speed.VI. Benefits of Independent Reading a. Provides students with an opportunity to monitor their own reading and apply the strategies and skills they learn. b. Choosing their own reading materials motivates students to read. c. Builds fluency. d. Strongly-linked to reading achievement.
  • 2. Rethinking the Whole Class Novel Donalyn Miller thebookwhisperer@gmail.comVII. Reposition Instruction Around Independent Reading a. Design instruction around genres, themes, literary elements, or comprehension strategies, not specific books. b. Create guiding questions or independent practice that can be used with any book. c. Use common texts like short stories, articles, and the first chapters of books for modeling and teaching. d. Ask students to apply what they have learned to their independent books. e. Select books from a range of reading levels.VIII. Sample Unit: Dystopian Science Fiction a. Modeling: Teacher identifies characteristics of dystopian societies, and reads aloud Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games as a mentor text. Teacher identifies and reinforces characteristics when encountered in the book. b. Shared Practice: Through class discussion and written responses, students analyze the dystopian society in The Hunger Games. c. Independent Practice: Students select another dystopian science fiction book and apply the same analysis. Students compare their own books to The Hunger Games.IX. Sample Unit: Suspense and Foreshadowing a. Modeling: Teachers defines suspense and foreshadowing, and reads aloud, “The Escape.” Using a think aloud, teacher identifies and evaluates moments of suspense and foreshadowing. b. Guided Practice: Students and teacher share read, “The Monkey’s Paw.” Students identify, evaluate and discuss moments of suspense and foreshadowing. c. Independent Practice: Students read “The Landlady” and “Grave Danger.” Students identify and evaluate moments of foreshadowing and suspense. d. Independent Practice: Students track and evaluate moments of foreshadowing and suspense in several chapters of their independent novels.X. Sample Unit: Nonfiction Text Features a. Modeling: Teacher reads aloud, Mosquito Bite. Using a think aloud, teacher identifies text features and describes how text features enhance the book and increase comprehension. b. Guided Practice: Students and teacher share read several nonfiction articles. Students preview the articles, make predictions, and evaluate how the text features enhance comprehension. c. Guided Practice: Students preview various nonfiction trade books, identifying and evaluating text features. Students share text features from their books, make predictions, and develop a class chart of text features. d. Independent Practice: Students select two nonfiction trade books to read. Students preview the text features, make predictions, and evaluate how the text features increase comprehension.