Using the Storia Notes Feature

Integrating the Storia notes feature into meaningful reading instruction

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

Why Use the Storia Notes Feature?

The notes tool in Storia is perhaps the most versatile Storia tool, and it complements the paper-and-pencil strategies teachers already use with their students during reading instruction.

Many teachers use sticky notes because they encourage short responses so students spend the majority of their reading time actually reading. And because they are small, sticky notes also alleviate the pressure some students feel when asked to write about their reading.

Storia notes, which are available in all Storia chapter books, offer these same benefits, as well as several advantages over traditional sticky notes.

  • Storia notes stay put! Many teachers know how frustrating it is for their students to keep track of stray paper notes.
  • With Storia, the notes can simply stay in the e-book, solving the problem of what to do with the notes after a student finishes the book. A student’s notes will stay in a book as long as that book is assigned to the student’s bookshelf. And if students are sharing a bookshelf, the shared notes will become a compilation of classroom opinion about a book, creating an annotated book.
  • Students can print their notes. A child can export his notes to a text file, print the document, and store the notes in his reading binder or folder.
  • Storia notes allow for both short and medium-length responses. Since the note expands as a student types into it, students are not limited to the sentence or two that they can fit on a traditional sticky note. This allows the note tool to be used for more comprehensive reading responses, if desired.
  • Storia notes are automatically dated, creating a reliable record of your students’ reading reflections over time. This allows you to use the notes feature for ongoing assessment of reading comprehension. If a student is reading an e-book from a shared shelf, she should label each note with her name or initials so you can review what each student wrote.
  • You can compile notes from multiple students by setting up shared bookshelves and allowing students to add their notes to the shared e-books. The notes can become a written conversation among a community of readers in your class. Students see how their peers thoughtfully respond to what they read, and that builds a social exchange of ideas. Students will also become more accountable for their responses when they realize that their Storia notes have a built-in, authentic audience—their peers. 

Teacher Chat 
“After I finished a mini-lesson on questioning, I sent my students off to record some of their “thick” questions on sticky notes as they read independently. I was surprised when I saw one of my students with Storia also grab a packet of paper notes to record his questions. When I pointed out that he could use Storia notes instead, he said, “Oh, I didn’t realize that’s the same thing!” It was a good reminder that students don’t necessarily transfer their thinking about one format to another. Now I make a point of sending my students off to use sticky notes or Storia notes.” 

How to Use Storia Notes

Accessing a Note

  1. Touch the + (plus) icon on the bottom right of the page.
  2. Touch the Storia note icon to create your note.
  3. After you have finished typing, click “Save.”
  4. To access your note, click on the + icon again and then the note icon. A list of all of the notes in the e-book will pop up in a separate panel. The notes will appear in order, by page number. The program will automatically scroll to notes from the page you are on. If you want to see a different note, simply click on the note you want to view.

Managing Notes

While Storia notes will spare you many of the organizational hurdles of using paper notes, it is worth setting clear expectations for how your students will work with Storia notes. Here are some suggested guidelines for managing Storia notes in your classroom.

  • All Storia notes should begin with the same format. For example, you may ask your students to write their names, the title of the book, and the instructional focus. Storia will automatically add dates. Post a chart in your classroom as a reminder of the format you expect for Storia notes. (The title is especially important if you export or screen-capture the note.)
  • If students write notes that require a peer response, ask them to code the very top of their notes with a symbol or abbreviation and to leave the note in a shared bookshelf. For example, you may ask students to code their notes with “?” for questions that require a response and with “!” for requests for opinions. Unless a written response is requested on the note, students may only write on their own Storia notes.

Using Storia Notes to Enhance Instruction

5 Ways to Use Storia Notes

There are many ways to integrate Storia notes into meaningful literacy instruction. As students work with Storia notes, they’ll begin to realize that note-taking is not the end goal of their reading instruction. Use these activities to provide students with meaningful work around Storia note-taking.

Students can:

  • Build upon one or more of their notes to write a longer critical response
  • Use their notes to support their participation in book discussions
  • Reflect on their progress as readers by rereading older notes
  • Use nonfiction notes to prepare for a presentation
  • Collect vocabulary words to add to a vocabulary journal or for use in writing

Developing Literary Response Routines

Using notes for literary response will help students extend their thinking about the text and get more out of their reading. You can also use their responses to the text as an ongoing record of students’ thinking and writing.

Margin Notes

You will probably need to provide most of your students with structured assignments to develop their note-taking skills. But ideally, students will make notes naturally as they think about the text they’re reading, because they'll see note-taking as a natural extension of their reading work. When students adopt a more casual “margin notes” style of responding to their reading, their notes will further their comprehension and, ultimately, enjoyment of text. These authentic notes are also useful assessment tools for the teacher. 

You can model this margin note behavior by leaving your own margin notes on books assigned to shared classroom bookshelves. Don't forget to sign your name on the notes you write!

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    Teacher Tips and Strategies, Teacher Training and Continuing Education, Teaching with Technology