Something I started doing with my sophomore English students was read aloud from Tuesdays with Morrie. This began as an idea to help my ESL student and other struggling readers, but then it became a necessary tool to keep all students on track with their reading.
I found, too, that my students seemed to like it. Minus a few distractions here and there (which were removed by changing seats, not letting students sit by friends, and making sure students had a copy of the book in front of them), reading aloud was pretty successful!
One thing I also learned, is that sometimes students need to be reminded that just because someone’s reading aloud to them, doesn’t mean it’s an opportunity to zone out. After a particularly difficult pop quiz on the 7th Tuesday, the next time I read aloud I decided to give my students three simple comprehension questions to see if they were listening and understanding the section.
There were some grumblings, but the students took it seriously. I had them treat it like a quiz–work silently and individually. And the feedback was helpful. I saw that some students weren’t listening; I also saw that some students struggled to grasp the main points of the section.
Here are the three questions I assigned:
Twelfth Tuesday Reflection Questions:
- Morrie says we have to forgive in two ways. What are they?
- What is Mitch doing to Morrie in this scene?
- What happened to Morrie’s friend?
Having the comprehension questions made me realize that I needed to do things like this more often–check for understanding, refresh and go over main points, and develop ideas in some sort of guided format to insure mastery of content. These questions were simple, but they were a means of formative assessment during reading that helped me to see areas where I needed to improve my instruction.