School Improvement in Maryland
Reading/English Language Arts-Instructional Strategies
GUIDE FOR INDEPENDENT READING
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A structured reading activity similar to the one that follows will guide students toward actively constructing meaning of texts and toward becoming independent readers. It will prepare them for reading the texts of the English High School Assessment.

For this activity, three or more texts that are related in some way -- for example, by subject, author, theme, characters, tone or style -- should be selected. The texts should either be photocopied so that each student will have his or her own copies to annotate and highlight, or if photocopying is not an option, it may be necessary to provide the directions and graphic organizers to students and have them write their notes on other paper.

Prior to using a reading activity constructed as the one on pages C-29 through C-31, students should have received instruction regarding those elements to which they are expected to be attentive, such as how an author might develop a character in a story, how language creates tone and voice, or some other appropriate Core Learning Goal element. It may also be necessary to give directions to students that are initially very specific and then gradually make them more generic as students' knowledge and confidence as readers grow. Other modifications to the following template will, of course, be necessary so that the directions and expectations are linked to the instruction the students have received.

After students complete this reading activity, they might also answer selected or brief constructed response assessment items to demonstrate further their understanding of the texts.

All directions in the following template for a guided reading activity are written for the student.
 

Guided Reading Activity

During today's class you will read three texts. You will be reading a ________, a ________ , and a ________. You will have time to read and respond to these texts. You may make notes, underline, highlight, and annotate the texts. You may consult the dictionaries and thesauruses in the classroom if you need to.

Answer the questions and follow the directions that appear before, alongside, and after the texts. These will guide you in using some reading strategies that help you construct meaning of the texts. As you read, you should think about any connections you see between and among the texts. Think about how the texts are alike and different.

TEXT 1

Before you read the ________ entitled "________," preview the text and then record any thoughts and questions you have about the text based on its title and any features you notice about the text.

What predictions can you make about the text?
 

Brainstorm what you know about ______________________________.

 

 

Text 1
    Notes and thoughts as you read:
    • questions
    • confirmation of predictions
    • word definitions
    • key ideas
    • interesting language
    • anything else

 
After reading the text, record additional thoughts you have about the text. You may want to summarize or answer the questions you had before or during reading. You may need to look back at or reread the text to help you do so.

 

Text 2

Before you read the second text, a ________ entitled "________," preview the text and then record any thoughts or questions you have about the text based on its title and any other text features you immediately notice.

What predictions can you make about the text, including its connection to the first text?

Brainstorm what you know about ______________________________.

 

 

Text 2
    Notes and thoughts as you read:
    • questions
    • confirmation of predictions
    • word definitions
    • key ideas
    • interesting language
    • anything else

 
Thoughts after reading:

 

Do you see any connections between the two texts? You may want to compare them using this Venn diagram.

.

Text 3

Before you read the third text, a ________ entitled "________," use the same strategies you used before reading "________" and "________." Record your thoughts here.

 

 
 

Text 3
    Notes and thoughts as you read:

 
Thoughts after reading:

 

Now answer the questions in the graphic organizer below. You may look back and reread the whole or part of each text to help you do so.
 

How are [text 1] and [text 2] alike? You may want to look at the ideas you wrote in the Venn Diagram, your notes, and the texts.

 
How are [text 2] and [text 3] alike? You may want to look at the ideas you wrote in the Venn Diagram, your notes, and the texts.
Connections: Ideas about similarities and differences between and among the three texts.
If you could discuss any or all of theses texts with another student or your teacher, what thoughts would you share? What questions would you ask?

 
Instructional Strategies