How to best use the Reading Skill and Strategy Packets

I have had a couple of questions about how I use the reading skills and strategy packets that I create. My packets are all about choice and when there are so many things to choose from it is sometimes hard to focus in on how to use all the pages. So I will attempt to share with you the many ways in which I have used these packets.

The reason I make so many pages to go with the book is so that you can use the book for whatever strategy you are working on at the time. This gives you the freedom to use the book when you need/want to.

Here are a few ideas, or ways to use the pages.

1. Decide to introduce or do a mini lesson with just one of the skills or strategies. Read the story and then use a page to work on as a class to show students how to do it, basically “think aloud” as you fill it in.

2. Continue working on or practicing a skill or strategy. After students have worked on a skill or strategy for a while, read, or re-read the book and have them practice that skill or strategy using the pages that fit - individually, with partners or in small groups. You can use the book throughout the year pulling it out to use whenever you are working on a new skill or strategy.

3. Sometimes I take the book and use it throughout the day (kind of like a review). Many times one skill or strategy goes so well with another so you can build on each as you go. For example, maybe you start with the character analysis which leads nicely into comparing the characters, or the problem/solution. Or maybe you start with finding the most important part from beginning middle end which leads nicely into sequencing, summarizing, or plot. I then lead those skills and strategies into writing, with either the visualization or the strong thought pages which require students to do a bit more thinking and writing.

4. You can also use these pages as quick assessments on a skill or strategy you have been working on. After reading the story, give them the skill or strategy page and see if they can come up with the main idea, problem/solution, cause & effect, etc. on their own.

Because the pages are differentiated, you can use them in small groups or simply choose the level that will work best for your students. For example, the predicting pages have a level where your students are just reading questions and picking a prediction. Another page has them read the question and write their own prediction, or for you higher kids let them make their own predictions.

The most important thing to remember is that it is okay to use the same book many times throughout the year (predicting is probably the only thing you would need to have the book be a first read for) to work on these skills and strategies. The different skills and strategies have students looking at the book in different ways which keeps the students interested in the story and the learning.

I hope I have helped you to figure out some different ways to use these pages.
I hope you and your students have fun with them, I know my students always do. Please let me know how you have used the pages and how it turned out!

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