I love looking around my room and seeing smiling faces while students read. This creates such a special feeling in the classroom. However, learning to read is really like learning a new language. It takes time and can be frustrating for students. So, I love to create fun and exciting ways for students to interact and think about stories and informational texts. For example, the Interactive Reading Comprehension Journals include so many hands-on ways for students to reflect on their reading in creative ways!
What are Interactive Notebooks?
Interactive notebooks are an excellent way for students to record what they are learning! Journals are usually a two-page spread. Then, students use pictures and words to record their learning. Students can then refer to their journals again and again to solidify their knowledge of the standard. Honestly, they are an excellent tool for recording notes, a collection of learning, and an authentic assessment tool!
Note for Kindergarten Teachers
Interactive notebooks are great for all ages! Since many kindergarten standards begin with the words “With prompting and support,” the use of these journal activities may look different in your classroom. In my classroom, we brainstorm together and then use interactive writing to put our thoughts down. We do this on the Smartboard or paper. Then, students do the work at their level. They can copy our collaborative work into their journal or complete it their own way. This is a great way to differentiate work!
What type of notebooks do you use?
I like to use composition notebooks because the pages stay intact much better than spiral notebooks. Additionally, they are also easier to store since spiral notebooks tend to get tangled up in each other.
How do you keep the kids from getting glue everywhere?
Kids love glue! So, we practice using just a dot of glue before students get their interactive notebooks. Modeling how to glue the pages into the notebook is key.
What type of things do you put in them?
Interactive reading comprehension journals are a great way to record our learning! I use many different types of templates so that kids stay engaged and excited about them.
Focus Skill: I can ask and answer questions
Activity: Question Spinner
Students can use this activity over and over with a variety of stories. Each student will spin the spinner. Then, students will write their questions and answers on post-it notes. This includes questions about who, what, when, and why. I love to store the paperclips (spinners) for this activity at the top of the page. This helps it be readily available the next time you want them to generate questions using the spinner.
Activity: Flap Books
Students will get out their flap books and focus on so many skills! To start, they will put dots of glue behind the side tab and glue it down. However, it is so important you have students do this BEFORE cutting on the dotted line to make the flaps open.
The flap books include so many aspects. For instance, students can focus on comprehension, main characters, and explaining their favorite part of the book.
Focus Skill: Thinking about characters and events in stories we read
Activity: Character and Story Elements
I love having students explain the main characters and other characters. Additionally, thinking about story elements helps students understand what is happening and where the story is taking place.
Activity: I can retell familiar stories.
This is a hard skill! Luckily, this fun activity allows students to work on retelling in the correct order.
Activity: Answering questions about stories
The interactive notebook allows teachers to easily differentiate. I have kindergarten students do lots of drawing while second graders can do more writing.
Activity: Making Inferences
There are great activities to help students outline their schema and add in text clues to make inferences.
Lots of activities allow students to explore conversations!
Activity: I can tell key details and events
There are so many hands-on activities for students to work on these skills! There are Give Me Five guides, draw mental image activities and tools to help students look at cause and effect.
Activity: I can describe how two people are connected.
This is a great way to compare people!
Metacognition: When you came to a difficult word, what strategies did you use to figure it out?
Thankfully, there are ongoing journal entries for students to write down unfamiliar words they read.
On the left side, I summarized what I learned about Johnny Appleseed. Then, I drew a timeline and a sketch of the lifecycle of an apple.
In this example, you will see Johnny Appleseed planting seeds (cause). The effect is then behind the flap.
For K students, I sometimes type or have them copy my writing to do the left side. Pictures are a powerful way for them to record their learning!
Activity: Parts of a Book
I love making sure students can identify the parts of a book! So, there are activities to help them sort pictures. This includes the ones on the front cover, back cover, and title page.
On the other side of the flap book, I have students draw an example of a title page. They can choose their favorite book or create their own.
Informational Text and Details
After reading a book about the Statue of Liberty, I wrote the sentence and three key details.
On the other side, I drew a picture and wrote sentences. I love to use graphic organizers to keep track of different details.
After reading a book about black bears, I drew three things the black bears did in the book. It is so fun to focus on the actions of the characters.
To take learning deeper, I drew a picture of a black bear and wrote sentences about the actions I drew.
I love to help students work on reading comprehension. Honestly, it is a skill they will use throughout their lives. Luckily, the Interactive Reading Comprehension Journals create fun, hands-on ways for students to work on so many aspects!
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