Reading Response Trifolds

An Adaptable Activity for The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

A Reading Response Trifold is an activity sheet that can be adapted to any novel to lead students through appropriate strategies during each silent guided reading session.

Reading Response Trifold (PDF)

Many educators have found trade books and silent guided reading to be effective tools for teaching reading strategies in the intermediate grades. This approach allows students of all ages to dissect and analyze complex literature and provides teachers with a meaningful way to reinforce these strategies with students.

When I began to use this approach with my fourth-grade students I had many questions. How could I help my students purposefully read a lengthy book and remain focused? How could I hold my students accountable for what they had read without bogging them down with tedious paperwork? How could I assess their understanding and progress? And finally, how could I have several groups reading different chapter books simultaneously and actually remember the events in each chapter?

My answer was to create a “reading response trifold” specific to each chapter book. Simply stated, this is an activity sheet that students use and refer to during each silent guided reading session. Students can also use the folded sheet as a convenient bookmark.

Each trifold panel contains three parts: Strategy, Focus, and Respond. The Strategy component helps students review and apply a specific reading strategy, such as visualizing, predicting, or summarizing. Next students read the Focus section before they begin reading and keep it in mind as they read, marking the book with a sticky note once they find the appropriate point in the text. After students have finished the reading assignments for a particular section, they then answer the Respond question. This part typically requires students to not only refer back to the text and scan for relevant information but also apply relevant reading strategies to help them formulate a written response.

This example of a Reading Response Trifold (PDF) for The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket shows you how it's done.

Focus and respond questions will vary depending on the book. But here are some sample Strategy questions that can be used with any book.

Predict

  • What do you think will happen if ________________?
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • I think the character will ________________.
  • How do you think the story might end?

Make Inferences

  • What do you think the character meant?
  • Why did she/he do that?
  • What does this show us?
  • How does the character feel?

Visualize

  • What did you see in your mind as you read?
  • How did you picture the character?
  • What do you imagine the setting looked like?
  • What do these details show?

Make Connections

  • What does this remind you of?
  • When have you had a similar experience?
  • Have you ever felt this way?
  • Does this character remind you of someone you know?
  • Have you ever been to a place like this?

Question

  • Why did the author include this section?
  • Why did the character do that?
  • Why did that happen?

Analyze Cause and Effect

  • How did the characters affect each other?
  • How did a character’s actions affect the story events?
  • How might things have turned out differentlyif ________________?

Evaluate

  • What did you like or dislike?
  • How did you feel?
  • What was your favorite/least favorite part?
  • Do you agree with ________________?
  • What lesson did you learn from the story?

Summarize

  • What was the most important part?
  • What was the main idea?
  • What can you tell me about the most important events?
  • What happened?

Use Context Clues

  • What word would make sense here?
  • What clues do you see in the sentence?
  • What might this mean?

The reading strategy sheet is an effective teaching tool that has enabled me to meet the diverse needs of my students. They love guided reading time because they have the opportunity to read quality literature at their independent reading levels, interact with the text and teacher, and experience the joy of reading.

  • Subjects:
    Main Idea and Details, Guided Reading, Independent Reading, Literature, Cause and Effect, Drawing Conclusions and Making Inferences, Story Elements, Summarizing, Teacher Tips and Strategies
  • Skills:
    Cause and Effect, Main Idea and Details, Making Inferences, Summarizing
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