Directed Reading-Thinking Activities

In a directed reading-thinking activity, students are helped to set purposes for, and make predictions about, their reading. Students gain ideas and information and make connections with literature: stories, poems, narratives, and genre. The process assists students in learning how informational texts work in mathematics and other content areas (science, geography, and technology), in developing fluency and interest, and in focusing their thinking about what they are reading. The process includes an introductory phase that provides background, new concepts, and purpose; individual reading (of the same text); discussion and interpretation; skill development of vocabulary and comprehension; and a follow-up activity. A directed reading-thinking activity provides opportunity to group students according to interest, learning, and needs. The process also allows students of different abilities and backgrounds to successfully find meaning in text.

The teacher:
• models and encourages predictions before and during the process;
• selects texts that are appropriate to the instructional reading levels and interests of students;
• uses questions and discussions to start students thinking about meaning/information (e.g., showing the illustration on the front cover and asking, “What do you think the story is about?”);
• teaches the strategies and processes needed to read the text successfully;
• guides students in the task of finding support and evidence in the text;
• models and encourages thinking and problem solving through reading and by asking questions (e.g., “Why do you say that?” and “How do you know that?”).

Directed reading-thinking activities:
• work well with younger children when using a picture book;
• are particularly useful when used with groups of students (six to eight);
• usually require multiple copies of the same text or a single large picture book, pausing at certain points to ask questions;
• are regularly used with text-supported courses.

Illustrations From The Mathematics Classroom

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The teacher instructs students on how to use a glossary to help understand a passage of text. Difficult words are listed in bold. The teacher then discusses the meanings of difficult words with the class and rereads the passage until most students can follow.