- Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
- chart paper
Set Up and PrepareBefore reading the story, I discuss with the students their experiences with going to an airport, flying on a plane, and moving to a new place, to build background knowledge. We would then discuss that when we read about these types of experiences, we can make a connection with the story. We discuss and make a class chart of the three types of connections that a reader can make while reading: Text to Text, Text to Self, and Text to World. I model for the students how to explain a connection in written form using either our read aloud book or another book that we have already read as a class. This connection will be written out on chart paper, so students can refer to it when they are writing their own connections.
Students read this story in flex groups. Some students will be in a guided reading group with me, some will be reading with a partner, and some will read independently, depending on reading ability. While students are reading, they will place post-it notes in their book where they were reminded of a connection. If they are with a partner or in the guided reading group, they may pause their reading to briefly explain their connection before continuing their reading.
After reading the story, the students are to choose two of their connections that has a post-it note, and write out their explanation in their reading response journals. They may also draw a picture to go along with their explanation. Students are given a chance to share their connections with a partner, and a few are chosen to share with the class. This gives students a chance to connect with other students’ thinking, and discussion may also spark other connections that the students have.
Supporting All Learners
Throughout the year, I welcome students to share their connections with their reading of all stories, so they are practicing this skill to become automatic, and improve their comprehension.
To connect reading with writing, after the students have practiced making connections a few times, I explain to the students how our connections to stories can be turned in to writing ideas for our writer’s notebooks.
Discuss comparing and contrasting in a story. Make a Venn diagram to compare and contrast New York City and Texas.
Discuss the difference between facts and exaggerations, list all the exaggerations they find in the story, and illustrate one that is not already illustrated in the story.
Have students take an entry from their writer’s notebook and rewrite it a second time to include exaggerations. Discuss how the reader sees their two entries differently, with and without exaggerations.