Reading

Students will be reading in a variety of settings and groups within the classroom. We will be working with small guided reading groups focusing on writers’ craft and the reading comprehension strategies of: making connections, questioning, visualizing, inferring, synthesizing, and summarizing the main idea. Some small group work will also focus on analysis of literary elements. Literature discussion groups and book club talks will be used to practice comprehension skills while reading other pieces of literature. A variety of informational and narrative reading genres will be covered in third grade. Additionally, reading instruction will also take place in the content areas of social studies and science.

We will continually evaluate the students reading progress throughout the year using individual conferences and goal setting, writing assignments, book logs, discussions, and participation. 

 

Reading is a very important part of learning each day. For independent reading at home, your child is expected to read a minimum of 150 minutes per week.  Reading homework will vary depending on the Unit of Study.

Units

Introduction to the Reader’s Workshop and Self Monitoring

"Readers don't just read, they build reading lives for themselves." ~Lucy Calkins

 

Throughout this short, first unit, students will take responsibility for making meaning of texts and above all, learn to push themselves as readers and develop a social life that revolves around shared books and magazines.  

 

The Enduring Understandings of the unit are listed below: 

  • Readers make book choices that will help them grow as readers.

  • Readers use a variety of strategies to make meaning while reading a variety of genres.

  • Readers monitor comprehension to make meaning and use fix-up strategies when comprehension is weakening.  

  • Readers prepare for discussions about a text by reading closely and annotating for important ideas.

  • Readers support conclusions with evidence to construct meaning from a text.

Students will begin the unit choosing books that will help them grow as readers ("Just-Right" books) and distinguishing between genres and sub-genres.  They will also set up their "40 Book Challenge" to support and track their reading throughout the year.  

 

During the second part of the unit, students will read short stories to practice making meaning of the text and to develop their ideas in order to discuss the text with partners and small groups. Throughout the short unit, metacognitive strategies including making predictions, drawing conclusions, and using "fix-up" strategies will be modeled and practiced.  Small groups will meet with the teachers to practice strategies and skills modeled in the mini-lessons. 

Main Idea, Details, & Summarizing

As students tackle non-fiction texts and articles, they will learn to distinguish important ideas from interesting facts as well as multiple strategies for summarizing.  Within the unit, leveled texts and articles will be used to practice skills taught in class lessons.  Students will work in small groups as they practice summarizing and finding the main ideas.  To conclude the unit, students will meet in literature circles to practice the skills and strategies learned throughout the unit. 

Enduring Understandings of the Main Idea & Summarizing unit: 

  • Active readers interpret text by reading thoroughly and with purpose to determine main ideas and the facts and details used to support them.

  • Active readers understand a text’s features, structures, and characteristics to facilitate their ability to make meaning of a text.

  • Active readers use keywords from the text, along with their own ideas words, to help them summarize what they’ve read.  

  • Main Idea Skill Activity 

  • Main Idea Test Tutor: Try out this interactive learning activity!

  • Quiz Yourself: Take this multiple-choice quiz, choosing the statement that best represents the main idea.

  • Hamburger Main Idea: In this activity, you will get to read a passage and determine which sentence most clearly describes the main idea. Click and drag the sentence that you think is the main idea to the empty spot in the hamburger where the meat goes. If you choose the correct one, your hamburger will be complete and you will get points. If you choose a different sentence, no meat will appear and you will lose points. You only get one chance with each passage, so you should try to get the right sentence on the first try. Find the meat of the passage!

Character Study

Many of us have met "best friends" in the pages of a book. Understanding character is the very heart of what must do when they are reading fiction. In fact, "characterization" is often cited as one of the most powerful literary elements. A character's beliefs, feelings, and thoughts are the glue that "holds the story together."

 

Listed below are ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS of the Character Study: 

  • Setting:  Active readers identify the setting of a story and determine how it affects the plot and characters’ actions

  • Characters: Active readers synthesize what characters say, do, think, and determine their motivation for their actions and thinking, ultimately learning how to empathize with characters

  • Plot: Active readers differentiate between events of the story, ultimately drawing conclusions about how those events cause characters to change

  • Theme: Active readers analyze how characters change and what they learn to uncover a text’s theme

 

Students will begin this unit of study reading the shared novel, Every Living Thing by Cynthia Rylant. This novel contains 12 short stories that each "captures the moment someone's life changes - when an animal causes a human being to see things in a different way, and, perhaps, changes his life."  

 

Whole group lessons will focus on plot structure, summarizing, characterization, character change, and theme. Small group work, reading responses, and literature discussion questions will be differentiated based on need.

 

After, students will break into four different teacher-selected guided reading groups. The novels used during this part of the study will be There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar, James & the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. All four novels have strong characterization and include a main character who is dynamic and experiences a significant change. Instruction will focus on specific skills and strategies that each group needs.  

Finally, this unit of study will end with literature circles. Students will get to choose from five different books, that all share the common topic of character change. Lessons will focus on how to have engaging and thoughtful discussions. Students will be responsible for preparing for literature circles and being active participants during discussions.  

 

ACADEMIC VOCABULARY for this unit includes: characterization, character development, literary element, theme, plot, events, summary, exposition, rising action, falling action, climax, resolution, protagonist, antagonist, motivation, static character, dynamic character

  • Timeline Creator: Creating timelines with this tool becomes an engaging activity for students as they choose from five different units of measure (date, time, event, entry, or other) and add specific descriptions of each entry.

  • Newspaper Clipping Generator: Type in a main event or story, and this generator publishes your work to make it seem like it's printed from an actual newspaper!

  • Acrostic Poems: In this online tool, students can learn about and write acrostic poems. An acrostic poem uses the letters in a word to begin each line of the poem. All lines of the poem relate to or describe the main topic word.

  • Shape or Theme Poems: In this online tool, elementary students can write poems based on shapes from five different categories: Nature, School, Sports, Celebrations, and Shapes. Within these categories, 32 different shapes are included.

  • Diamante Poems: In this online tool, students can learn about and write diamante poems, which are diamond-shaped poems that use nouns, adjectives, and gerunds to describe either one central topic or two opposing topics (for example, night/day or winter/spring).

Fables, Folktales, Myths

Enduring Understandings

  • Readers recognize characteristics and elements common to folklore genres.

  • Readers study characters to uncover lessons and morals to use in our own lives.​

  • Readers infer the theme using the characters actions and the events in the plot.

  • Readers identify types of conflicts and characters common in literature.

  • Readers compare and contrast elements of literature within texts and across texts. 

Perspectives

During this unit, students will identify and determine the point of view and perspective(s) from which a story is told. Students will read a shared text, Sign of the Beaver, to examine the concept of perspective. Students will engage in a variety of activities that will allow them to analyze a variety of situations from different perspectives of characters from the text. Students will also have an opportunity to extend their learning about the concepts and perspectives from literature circles they will be participating in using different texts. The following are Enduring Understandings of this unit:

  • Behaviors and attitudes are often times a reflection of the varied perspectives of individuals.  

  • Everyone views life through a different lens, and sometimes those contrasts impede understanding others.

 

Throughout this unit, students will develop the following Cognitive Skills:

 

  • Literal and inferential comprehension

  • Summarizing

  • Draw conclusions from textual and/or visual evidence

  • Utilizing text evidence to support analysis and reflection 

Reader's Theater

Students become excited and enthusiastic about reading when they are presented with the opportunity to participate in Reader's Theater. In this mini-unit, students will read scripts, perform in groups, and practice using their voice to depict characters from texts. Throughout the different lessons, students have the opportunity to develop fluency and further enhance comprehension of what they are reading.

 

There are six different scripts that our classrooms will use that range in text complexity. Therefore, the script your child will be using is at their "just right" level. Students will also have differentiated vocabulary lists depending on their script.

 

Students will achieve the following learning objectives in this unit:

  • Describe characteristics of a drama using the following academic vocabulary - cast of characters, setting, dialogue, stage directions, scene

  • Determine the theme of a drama

  • Analyze character traits of major characters in a drama

  • Read with fluency using appropriate volume, tone, and expression

Biography Genre Study

Initially, we will discuss the structure of the genre whether it is chronological or episodic. Students will note features and characteristics of the genre as well; biography is a blend of informational and narrative text called narrative nonfiction.  

Setting is extremely important and needs to be a focus so readers understand that setting influences character.  Students will pay attention to dates and what is already known about this period in history. Readers will find the link between the setting and the development of the subject’s character and accomplishments.

Readers need to understand that people make history and these people have both strengths and weaknesses. There is a natural fascination to gain insight into what made a person famous. Biographies are written about people who have risen above the crowd. Students will be choosing biographies of people who have made positive contributions to society.

Finally students will make a personal connection to their biography and consider what they have learned about themselves as they learned about the subject. Their reflections will include ways in which the readers may act or make choices differently in the future after having read the biography.

 

We will end the unit by having literature circle discussions. Through literature circles, students will have an opportunity to discuss the influences, strengths, and weaknesses of the subjects. Through sharing, they will arrive at common themes and features of biographies and periods in history.

 

Listed below are ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS of the unit: 

  • Active readers understand biography as a true account of a person’s life

  • Active readers gather information, demonstrating insight into his/her personality

  • Active readers recognize how circumstances and relationships impact the life of their subject and those around him/her

  • Active readers draw conclusions about the significance of the events and personal decisions made by the subject of a biography

  • Active readers determine the importance of the subject to society and one’s own life

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