Time is officially going by way too fast and I can’t believe I am already blogging about my January read aloud….eeek! Regardless, I am so grateful that our Books Teachers Love collaborative introduces our favorite read alouds the month before we actually use them in our classrooms. That gives us all plenty of time brainstorm how to incorporate these creative read aloud ideas into our own lesson plans. Shout out to Stephanie from Mrs. D’s Corner for that brilliant idea!
After December break, we launch our nonfiction reading and writing unit in second grade. The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino is a perfect read aloud to guide lessons about nonfiction elements, and main idea & detail identification. Your students will be awestruck by the amazing photographs and interesting facts that fill the pages of this nonfiction must-have.
Prior to reading, do a quick nonfiction feature walk (similar to a picture walk expanded to include other nonfiction text features). Then, ask your students what questions they have before reading. Follow up by asking which nonfiction text feature sparked their interest in each question. If the spark was not a nonfiction text feature, take a moment to have the student explain how they know their question is related to the topic of the text. This helps to reinforce the idea that our thinking about reading should be strongly connected to the evidence we see within the text or the title/topic of the text.
Keep the questioning anchor chart handy so answers can be recorded and you can add additional questions during and after reading the text.
Once the “before reading” questions are added to your class anchor chart, take a moment to cover the headings on each page. To do so, cut the sticky part off a large Post-It note and use it as a removable sticker to cover each heading. You can also use this Post-It Full Adhesive Roll to make your life easier.
This will allow you to read the details listed under each heading and ask your students to identify the main idea described on each page. Peel off the post it note to reveal each heading so students can check the accuracy of their thinking.
Of course, you’ll want to model this skill for your students by thinking aloud as you identify the main ideas on the first couple pages. Then gradually place the responsibility in their hands. You may even want to have students independently write the main idea of the last page on a Post-It as a quick exit slip assessment.
This mini lesson can serve as a reference during future nonfiction reading practice sessions using the same format. The beauty of this lesson format is that is can be applied to any nonfiction text but The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder is particularly perfect if you plan to teach these skills during the chilly winter months.