We have been doing similar type read alouds with small sections of text in our school also. We have been practicing this through our study of 'close reading.' I absolutely love it. There are many opportunities for turn and talk and independent thinking. The kids must refer to the text frequently and support their responses with evidence. In addition to close reads, I've been doing book clubs 4-5 days a week. Each of my 25 third graders are in a group of 4 students reading an assigned text. I'm trying to have most groups read non-fiction texts that link to our social studies curriculum. They are required to buddy read then respond to questions in both writing and orally. Overall, I'm pleased with their responses, discussion and ability to keep on task. Naturally, there are those groups that struggle with this high expectation of independence as I'm only able to meet with one or two groups per session. A huge help has been having a student teacher this semester! I'm thrilled with the reading progress and improvement of written responses to text. I plan to continue this practice next year - but provide much more support for appropriate small group behavior upfront.
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