You may want to try these activities back in the classroom.
Activities: Build a Literary Community
Activity One: Discussion Guidelines
Begin to build your own literary community. Consider creating
classroom discussion guidelines in collaboration with your students.
Guide your students towards the concepts of mutual respect,
the value of unique perspectives, and respect for the text.
Help your students to consider what is appropriate to say in
a discussion and what is not. How should students respond to
one another? Try small brainstorming groups and then offer a
"gallery walk." Here, groups of students can walk around the
room and post their ideas on large pieces of poster paper.
As each group rotates to the next station, they can add to the
ideas already posted by the previous group. Each key topic from
the Sample Discussion Guidelines can
be used for creating each station, including "Attitudes," "Behaviors:
Come Prepared," "Behaviors: Respond Appropriately," and "Thinking."
To wrap up the activity, review ideas posted, consult with the
students about what is missing or what can be combined, and
then collaboratively create a master list of guidelines for
classroom posting. When creating the master list, encourage
students to select the most essential points to keep the final
guidelines manageable. Utilize the Sample
Discussion Guidelines as a teacher resource for facilitating
this activity. [Click here for a PDF
Activity Two: Literary Hunt
Create a literary hunt for the purpose of giving students an
opportunity to get to know one another and their literary interests.
Create pre-assigned heterogeneous groups of four students each.
Ask students to pair up with someone in their group and interview
one another, using the Literary
Hunt Activity Sheet.[Click here for a PDF
version.] Provide students with time to interview one another.
Before the students begin, explain to them that they will be
asked to introduce their partner to their group, so they should
As an extension to this activity, the teacher may ask groups
to focus on how they will share what they have learned about
their group members. Members could consider the following: What
experiences do members of the group have in common? What differences
helped you to understand one another? What important things
did you learn? As a culminating activity, ask students to reflect
on their experiences in their classroom journals. Students might
consider what they learned from the experience, what surprised
them, and maybe something they learned about themselves from
participating in the activities. Overall, these activities will
allow students to learn about one another, beginning the foundation
for mutual respect in the classroom literary community.
Activity Three: Think Aloud
A think aloud is an activity where the reader verbalizes their
internal thoughts during the envisionment-building process.
From the moment the reader approaches the text, they share their
thoughts, questions, and hunches out loud. The teacher may want
to model the process with a short poem or a small compact passage
of fiction. Refer to the Activity
Sheet: Think Aloud Teacher Resource [click here for a PDF
version] and the Sample
Think Aloud Response to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the
House of Usher" [click here for a PDF
version.] to help you model the process.
After modeling the process, select an additional passage for
modeling with student input. You may want to hand out copies
of the Activity Sheet: Student
Think Aloud [click here for a PDF
version] for this purpose. In this activity, the teacher
should ask students to jot down their thoughts and questions
as the teacher pauses between sentences during a read aloud.
It is ideal for the students to have a copy of the passage in
front of them.
Encourage students to pose questions, connect personal experiences,
and reflect on what the text initially means to them. Tell students
that the think aloud process invites reader interruptions, giving
them an opportunity to interact with the text. After the second
think aloud model, share student responses and questions so
that everyone can see how others react to the literature. Next,
ask students to work in pairs. Again, select a think aloud passage
for the students. Ask them to take turns reading a few lines
and verbalizing their thoughts. Students should be encouraged
to share the reading and verbalizing responsibilities.
As you observe the many pairs, you may need to coach the students
by posing thought provoking questions to move their thinking
along. These activities will give students an opportunity to
become aware of what and how they and others think and how they
have options for further enriching their ideas.
Think Aloud Resources: