23 Sep Slice of Life – When Characters Talk to Us
Hey, that book is just like that other book, the one with the pigeon. Both books talk to us like we are in the book. I love those books that talk to you.
It was day 15 in a kindergarten classroom. I was modeling an interactive read aloud lesson. I had only read the first page when this young friend shared his thinking. Once he shared his thinking, the entire group erupted into a conversation about how this book was the same and different from the pigeon book. These kindergarteners were doing the work of standard 9 of the CCSS.
So many teachers are talking with us about standard 9 of the CCSS:
Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors takes.
How do we find text sets?
Do you know pinterest boards with good text sets?
Are there catalogues to buy text sets?
Which topics or themes should we buy text sets for?
While we love thinking about text set possibilities and perusing pinterest boards we are continually reminded by our young friends that if we create the space they will do the work. We blogged about this idea previously – Text Sets – To Buy or Not To Buy? – And we continue to think that it is far more powerful to involve the students in the process of creating these sets.
The kindergarteners in this lesson were thinking beyond theme and topic, they were comparing text structures. They were noticing that some books are structured in a way that has the characters talk directly to the reader. This group is ready to move into a conversation about why an author might write this way? How this type of writing changes the story? How you read it differently? How it changes your thinking?
I am not sure I have ever thought about how this style of writing impacts how I read or comprehend. I am not sure I ever would have thought about it if it were not for this young reader. It has made me stop and think about how this text structure is designed to support the comprehension of our young readers. Monitoring for meaning and metacognition are such abstract concepts. Texts like these make the “in the head” processing interactive and concrete. The reader shouts back at the characters, makes suggestions, answers questions and provides warnings. The reader laughs, sighs and whoops with joy. They literally become a part of the text through thoughts, actions and dialogue.
When the narrator speaks directly to the reader it invites the reader to construct his understanding of the text and add his own point of view. It becomes interactive and provides opportunities for story play and drama. When our young readers act, speak and dramatize “as if” they are the character then we know they understand how the characters are feeling and what the characters are thinking. It provides a hands-on way for our concrete-operational readers to think inferentially. It allows our young readers to respond to text and express their comprehension without writing. We know that talk is the major motor for comprehension. If our young readers can talk the response we know we are building the foundation for them to write the response.
This group of readers inspired us to make a pinterest board in their honor! These are the texts we have found so far: