Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Know and Wonder Reading Comprehension Strategy

Hi everyone! I’m excited to share with you the first in my series of video lessons: The Know and Wonder Reading Comprehension Strategy. Watch my class during a read aloud of Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.


My students each have a copy of Because of Winn-Dixie to follow along as I read aloud. I stop at key moments and ask, “What do you know and wonder so far?” The kids turn and talk with a partner to brainstorm their “knows” and “wonders” and then we reconvene for whole-group discussion. I scribe what we know and wonder on the board and the kids keep track of “knows” and “wonders” in reading journals. You can see student reading journal examples above.

This strategy keeps kids rooted in the text by tagging important details (the “know”) and also encourages inferential thinking by asking questions (the “wonder”). It’s also a way the reader can monitor comprehension. Do I have wide gaps in my understanding? Am I following the problem and using what I know to understand the main character’s motivation? Is my wondering helping to deepen my understanding of big ideas and interpretation? It reminds kids what they should be thinking about when they are reading.

I try to help students distinguish between “thin” and “thick” types of wonders. During our group discussion, I give them prompts to elicit thick wonders, such as Why? or How? types of questions. Thick questions follow the story line or problem, and allow for interpretation. Thin questions leave little to discuss and can be found in the text readily.

Check in soon to see video lessons connecting the know and wonder strategy with big ideas and interpretations.

All my best, 
Ms. Scarborough

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