Students in my 3rd grade ELL reading group have started reading “How To Eat Fried Worms’. It’s an entertaining story about a boy who accepts a bet to eat 15 worms in 15 days. If he succeeds, he will get $50, which he will use to purchase a motorbike.
During our guided reading we discuss character traits, setting and plot. We determine the meaning of words and phrases, distinguishing literal from non-literal language. We ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. These activities are all part of the Common Core State Standards for reading.
While the discussion was going well, I began thinking about ways to give the students more engaged in the discussion. I wanted them to have ownership and responsibility for their learning. That’s when I introduced the “ I Wonder..” chart.
Here’s how we use the chart. Students are given 2 different color sticky notes. The yellow paper is for questions they have about the story. The blue paper is used when they have an answer to a specific question.
At the beginning of class, students look over the questions posted on the chart to give them a purpose for reading. We read a few chapters in the story & have a discussion about it. After the discussion, students are given time to answer any of the questions posted, as well as pose a new question. More than one student can answer a question.
Since implementing this questioning for understanding strategy, students have become more attentive to what we are reading because they are looking for answers to their own questions as well as someone else's.