Organize Using Organizers!
“Reading is thinking” is what we try to instill in the minds of our young readers. And in order to think in the Common Core classroom, students must be taught how. It’s important that students understand that in order to become a better reader, he/she will need to organize his/her thoughts. In our classrooms, we have our students use a variety of graphic organizers (Venn diagrams, cluster webs, story maps, timelines, etc.). Click here for a free example of a fact/opinion organizer.
What we try to have students understand is that they must match the appropriate graphic organizer to what they are reading- which takes time but is well worth it in the end. We use graphic organizers with our guided reading groups. We talk about the book and what graphic organizer would be the best fit for what they are reading. Whether our students are reading fiction or nonfiction, they become more engaged when they are provided a choice in how they wish to organize their thoughts. And it’s amazing to see the growth by the middle part of the school year! Click here to access our FREE retelling graphic organizer.
What we do with the students in our guided reading groups is have each student periodically share out with the others and then compare what they have written on their graphic organizers. Having each student use the same organizer allows students to learn from each other and modify their own organizer. It also adds a sense of responsibility and accountability to their learning.
While there may be hundreds of graphic organizers to choose from, we generally stick to the 20 or so that we have developed. That way, students become familiar with each and understand how to use each one. We also use graphic organizers with our comprehension guides. Most of our comprehension guides (click here for a free guide that includes many strategies) are book specific but having students complete a story map, Venn diagram, or some other type of graphic organizer only adds to the overall comprehension.
Click here to see all of the organizers that we have available.
Students who understand that organizing the information in a book will be successful in the end. And, once again, we are always pleasantly surprised and proud to see our students’ reading scores soar!