Reading Power: Teaching Students to Think While They Read
Metacognition or an awareness of thinking is extremely important in a child's reading development. Good readers know that reading is not just saying the words but also being able to think about what those words mean.
At Parsley, we want our students to become more complex thinkers. To do this, many of our teachers have begun working with Adrienne Gear's book, Reading Power. Teachers use four components of reading instruction: teacher modeling guided practice, independent practice and application while teaching the 5 Reading Powers. The 5 Reading Powers are taught through the use of quality picture books but can later be applied to longer stories and chapter books.
The first reading power that is introduced is Connections. This is one of the easiest for children to understand. Children are encouraged to make connections to the story, a picture, a character or even feelings. They can do this by thinking about something that has happened to them (text to self), in other books (text to text) or in the world (text to world).
The second reading power is Question. Children naturally ask questions, so we encourage them to move beyond asking the "thin" questions (basic knowledge) to asking the "thick" questions (higher order thinking). In doing this, children gain a deeper understanding of the story and learn that not all answers can be found in the book.
The third reading power is Visualize. Children use the words they hear or read in a story to create a "movie" in their mind. To do this they must use their own personal experiences along with the author’s words to create the images. In class the children can draw pictures of things they see, write down the sounds they hear or the feelings they get from a particular story or passage.
The fourth reading power is Infer or reading between the lines. The children learn to be book detectives. They look for clues in the text, pictures and even their own prior knowledge to help them make sense of the story.
The final reading power is Transform. Transforming combines and builds upon the four previous powers. Children learn that they can be touched by the words on the page, the thoughts in their heads and the feelings in their hearts. They also learn that transforming takes time and can challenge their own thinking.
By incorporating the 5 Reading Powers into their lessons, our teachers are guiding their students to become more critical thinkers, a skill that will last them a lifetime.