Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers

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


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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.

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!


Author: Jennifer Sniadecki

I write about literacy education and my love for reading and writing. My passion is sharing titles I use for school libraries, classroom collaborations, and professional development. My goal is to collaborate, research, and share with other life-long literacy learners. Welcome to my blog!

7 thoughts on “Who Needs Words? A Series of Posts About Teaching Reading and Learning to Read

  1. I love the thinking that Beers and Probst bring to the forefront. Wordless books are some of my favorites, I look forward to your list tomorrow.

  2. I love wordless picture books! Sharing them in my middle school is a favorite reading task of mine!

  3. Jennifer, it is good to know that you are going to glide into the new year with Kylene and Bob as your tour guides. Wonderful work! Enjoy the holidays.

  4. My students really loved Sidewalk Flowers. We had great conversations about what they noticed in the illustrations.

  5. I love your idea of using the wordless picture books, which I find fascinating, no matter the topic. I came upon Beers & Probst last in my teaching career, but used them to much success I think. Best wishes for this in your classroom, too!

  6. I want to hear more about how you use wordless picture books. This may be something I should try in the new year. Notice and Note signposts are like huge “ahas” for me.

  7. Pingback: Who Needs Words? A Series of Posts About Teaching Reading and Learning to Read | Reading Teacher Writes

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