Tag Archives: visualisers

The Thinking Reader – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team has delivered a CPD session to 22 teachers entitled ‘Active Literacy Reading – The Thinking Reader Approach’.

The aims of the session were:

To provide an overview of the thinking reader approach

To provide an overview of the six comprehension strategies in reading

To examine ways forward for the teaching of reading using active approaches.

After examining the benefits of reading, Sharon explained that the thinking reader approach is used to teach children reading strategies to improve their ability to understand what they read. It is an approach which can be applied to a range of ‘texts’.

Sharon demonstrated the thinking reader approach using the text ‘Chinese Cinderella’. Colleagues gained a deeper understanding of this text through the following activities:

  1. Using prior knowledge – what do you already know about Cinderella?
  2. Metalinguistics – colleagues were asked to include the word ‘unwanted’ in a sentence and highlight words/ phrases they like/ don’t understand in an identified paragraph
  3. Visualisers – colleagues were asked to produce a visualiser of the character Naing using the information in the extract
  4. Inference – two questions were posed about the text relating to inference e.g. What is the relationship between Naing and Jun-Ling
  5. Main Ideas – What are the main themes from the text you can gather using the information you have already been given
  6. Summarising – summarise the character of Naing in a tweet

Sharon then explored how the thinking reader approach relates to the key reading skills which are assessed in the context of the Scottish Survey for Literacy and Numeracy.

Sharon then shared how she had previously used the thinking reader approach with the following texts:

P2 – The Daily What article/ Beware of the Bears

P3 – The Wish Cat

P4 – Michael Rosen’s poetry

P5 – Moving Image Education film

P6 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

P7 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

S1 – Chinese Cinderella

The course also looked at the comprehension triangles from the Active Literacy programme:

Sharon then examined ways to use effective questioning in reading lessons, examining the role of Blooms fans and how these can be used at different ages and stages.

The course was well received and feedback included:

“I wanted to thank you for the CPD last night. It’s really helped me work out a plan of action for all of my reading groups and not just the group that weren’t ‘getting’ the Bloom’s Fans work. It was good to have input on the key comprehension strategies and I’m going to start as of Monday”.

“I really enjoyed the course last night and I think (or hope!) that I am starting to understand the type  of questions and activities that the pupils should be completing”.

This course will be re-run on Tuesday 11th March from 4 til 5.30pm for any colleagues who didn’t get an opportunity to attend this one.

Active Literacy in the Secondary School

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team is currently working with two Falkirk Secondary Schools on a very exciting Active Literacy transition project.

The recently published Active Literacy pack takes the Active Literacy programme into S1 and Sharon is currently team teaching with John Doherty at Larbert High School and an S1 class, and soon Graeme High School, also with an S1 class on higher order reading skills.

The P4/5 Active Literacy pack develops the higher order skills introduced at P1-3 and the P6/7/S1 pack takes these skills even further.

The S1 classes are developing the six key reading comprehension skills using the Alfred Noyes poem ‘The Highwayman’ as a ‘text’.

The initial lesson looked at Strategy 1 – prior knowledge of ‘highwaymen’ and this period in time, followed by Strategy 2 – using ‘metalinguistics’ – picking out key phrases/ interesting vocabulary. The pupils then used Strategy 3 – using visualisers to produce a mind-map which incorporated the main themes of a non-fiction text about ‘Highwaymen’.

This is a very exciting project taking the Active Literacy programme into S1 and the skills even further into real life.

The second lesson in this series was really successful and examined comprehension strategies 3 (using visualisers), 4 (inference), 5 (main ideas) and 6 (paraphrasing). In a very short timescale, S1 pupils from Larbert High were able to produce visualisers to summarise the main ideas of two stanzas from the poem. Working in cooperative groups on two different stanzas each, the pupils were able to cover the entire poem. They then went onto producing a summary/ paraphrase of those two stanzas using only 140 characters and published these live on twitter.

Some of the tweets included:

‘The highwayman knocks on the window of the inn and finds Bess #younglove x’

‘The Highwayman is a structured poem which has good describing words #shotottheface

‘The highwayman rides to the inn. Sings a song to the girl. Redcoats make her shoot herself. #death