Monday, April 15, 2013

Thinking Through Non-Fiction: Kindergarteners and Complex Text

As our pumpkins turn into readers, we have moved from learning 'how to read' to learn 'how to read to understand'. Since the hinge of Common Core is for them to be able to successfully read complicated text... what's more complicated than non-fiction? Seriously, you have pictures, captions, technical jargon even. So, we have worked this year on learning how to think like a reader AND to be able to share that thinking.

This week we've started our learning on Seeds and Plants with the theme of how things grow and change. It works really well in the spring along with life cycles of tadpoles and butterflies :)

Here's my anchor chart to begin with:

I love a good KWL to be able to record your thinking. I forgot to take a picture after the kids share what they already know. They had some amazing knowledge! One of my very sweet and timid kinders, was able to tell me that seeds start out small and grow into bigger plants. I love the range in answers too. One of my high flyers told us all about oxygen and carbon dioxide. The other students listened to him so closely that I know they learned from him!

Tomorrow, we're going to write our questions on what we want to learn or know before we read. I can't wait to hear what they come up with!

Another great proponent of understanding non fiction is being able to write about what you know. We are using our writing time now to research about animals. It helps the students sooo much! I always remind my students to "think like a reader" and " what would you want to know if you were reading this." They've heard it so many times now that they are finishing my sentence as soon as I begin and even telling their friends! Here's the great chart that we're using (from my awesome grade level friends!):

I can't wait to see how there writing turns out! How are you getting your kinders to understand complex texts?

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