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Who Needs Words? A Series of Posts About Teaching Reading and Learning to Read

Part 1: Getting Started with the help of the Experts

As I started teaching nonfiction strategies this year, I used my newly autographed copy of Reading Nonfiction: Notice & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. I was excited to get started because my former students helped the researchers by taking a survey that informed the book’s work. I talked with former and current students about my passion for teaching reading in meaningful ways and told them that Kylene and Bob would continue to guide our next unit of study.

NoticeandNoteNonfictionBook
As I prepared my lessons for the unit, I was immediately drawn in by the beginning chapters’ set of three essential questions that defined the “Stop! Notice and Note” points for readers. In the book, Beers and Probst described using the lessons with readers who became completely engaged in the thinking work, and I wanted the same for readers in my classroom.  The premise was easy to use and the students could catch on quickly, especially since they were already used to the Notice and Note signposts for fiction books. I explained to the students that these strategies work for all reading for the rest their lives — not just for “today.”

To get to the point of this post, very simply, the essential questions that help a reader to “Stop! Notice, and Note” are: 1) “What surprised me?” 2)”What does the author think I know already?” and 3) “What challenged, changed, or confirmed my thinking?”  The more practice I had myself while trying out the preliminary texts, the more I realized that the essential questions for nonfiction can be easily transferred to my “before-the-winter-break” study of wordless picture books.

I am ready to go! I have a stack of wordless picture books piled, prepared, and ready for my students to enjoy. (See part 2 of my series tomorrow for wordless picture book titles I am using in the classroom!) Thanks to Kylene Beers and Bob Probst, this smooth transition in “Noticing and Noting” will be just the ticket for wrapping up 2015’s learning and gliding us into the new year! Thank you, my friends!