Hey there friends,
I hope you are having a great January so far. If you live in a geographical region like Washington state, then you might have also brought in the new year with a LOT of snow. We have gotten well over a foot where I live and of course that leaves kids eager to get outside. Getting snow off the brain is hard, and I know that any teacher who has ever spotted the smallest glimmer of snowfall out their classroom window can relate ha!
I decided instead of working hard to bring back the focus, why not explore something that they all love, and in some cases maybe have never seen and would love to know more about… SNOW! This week in the Guided Reading with a Purpose Curriculum I decided to focus on winter reading comprehension activities with books all about snow.
5 Snow-Themed Winter Reading Activities
The mentor texts for this guided reading week are a mix of both fiction and nonfiction. The resources I’ve created for each book explore the comprehension skill of text evidence while focusing on snowy weather.
“Disaster Zone: Avalanches”
This nonfiction mentor text is about what causes avalanches, their effects, and my favorite part, avalanche safety.
This realistic fiction text by John Rocco is such a fun story about a boy who lived through an extreme blizzard. He talks about his experience and how he helped his neighborhood even though he was just a kid.
This nonfiction mentor text is all about snow. What is snow, where it appears in weather, the formation, and snow up close.
“What is a Blizzard?”
This nonfiction mentor text is about what causes blizzards, their effects, and how to stay safe in a blizzard.
“The Snowflake Mistake”
This fiction mentor text is about a snow queen and her daughter. The Queen leaves her daughter in charge while she is gone. She loses focus and makes a big “mistake” with the snowflakes. In the end, the Queen realizes that her mistake is perfect in its own unique way. I always love a book with a positive message and lessons to be learned.
Each of these resources above are available separately or together in my Guided Reading with a Purpose Snow Bundle. Also, each of the books featured here can be purchased on Amazon by clicking on the title links above. (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Selecting the Right Text for Teaching Text Evidence
One of the main reasons I chose this theme, and these specific texts, is that when teaching the comprehension skill of text evidence, it is important to select text that is interesting to your audience and that sparks curiosity. You also want to make sure that in both fiction and nonfiction books that there is enough information in the story to be used as text evidence.
A few other quick tips for teaching text evidence:
- Vocabulary – Are there any words that might be significant in your students’ understanding of the text? You want to make sure all students are confident in what they are reading before they are asked to explore the text in depth.
- Read it all – Make sure that you have read the entire text, so students are familiar with all components and information available to them.
- Modeling – Show students what finding text evidence looks like and sounds like by going through the thought process aloud. Where did I see that in the text? How do I know? Where’s my proof?
- Expand with more questions – When your students provide initial answers using text evidence helping them deepen their responses and understanding. They may even come to a new conclusion. What gave you that idea? Show me where you found that?
- Provide tools – I am a big believer in providing visual tools to my learners especially when we are just getting comfortable with new concepts. Do all your students have to utilize them? No. Will many of them? Yes. I always pass out the tools to each student, they can choose to use them or not, but they are there if they need them. In this unit I have text evidence bookmarks, text evidence posters with and without sentence starters. If you want to utilize some of these tools along with additional comprehension materials for free you can access them on my previous blog post, “Teaching Text Evidence with The Book, “Blizzard”
- Review, review, review – Even when we aren’t specifically teaching to text evidence, we can continually use our sentence starters or ask expanding questions during discussions both whole group and small group.
Being able to provide text evidence with confidence is such an important reading comprehension skill and as teachers, we know that it will be expected of our students as they move through the grades. We can equip them now knowing the positive impact it will have on their educational journey. If you have any tips or tricks that you love when teaching text evidence, I would love for you to share them.
As always, feel free to reach out with questions, suggestions or just to connect!
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