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Reading Skills Teacher Resources
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A complete resource from BBC World Service provides informational text for English or ESL classes to teach vocabulary, grammar, and reading skills. Learners participate in small group work, whole class discussions, and role-plays to explore the universal topics presented in a current news article. Although the plan is thorough and easy to follow, the link to the referenced article is broken.
Fourth graders practice their close reading skills with a short text on conflict resolution. Working in pairs, learners read and reread the article Smart Speak by Marilyn Cram Donahue as they identify the main idea and use context clues to understand challenging vocabulary. The class uses the text to begin making a list of rules to improve their school community, as they work toward the long term goal of writing a school constitution. Consider having students create skits to act out the conflict resolution strategies from the article as an extension activity. This is a great resource for teaching how to read closely, and can very easily be adapted to any piece of writing.
Discuss the meaning of the phrase tone of voice with the class. They respond to a variety of scenarios where a particular tone would be prevalent. They then read "Mother to Son" without knowing the title and answer some questions about the poem's tone and voice. In the end, they write a poem of their own where they are giving advice to someone.
Cynthia O’Brien’s two-page article, “The (Really) Great Law of Peace,” launches a unit study of Iroquois, the Iroquois Confederacy, and the Iroquois Constitution. The first lesson in the series scaffolds for and sets the protocols for the rest of the unit. To build their close reading skills, learners practice a “I Notice/I Wonder” routine, recording observations and questions about the article and a short video on the included graphic organizer. The richly detailed plan also includes step-by-step directions for the suggested activities, starter sentences for a think-pair-share activity that asks readers to provide details and examples from the article, and an image of the Iroquois flag. Although access to O’Brien’s article is limited, the lesson and the unit are worth the effort.
A series of well-written activities, these lessons prompt middle schoolers reading below grade level (at a second, third, or fourth grade level) to use poetry to practice basic reading skills. They rhyme, build words, make inferences, and practice phonics skills. There are three activities total and an extensive rational/context commentary. The lesson is appropriate for older grades as well.
Most young people don't spend a lot of time thinking about why some foods cost less than others. This resource uses clips from the documentary, Food, Inc. to explore the impact of agricultural subsidies on nutrition, health, and the economy. The topic is introduced by asking class members what determines the food they typically eat in their homes; for example, taste, cost, nutrition, etc. Next, learners record information on a viewing guide as they watch the clips. There is ample discussion, supplementary graphs, and extra readings to help ensure a thorough understanding of the topic. Numerous extensions and adaptations provide easy ways to further develop this plan.
High schoolers get together in groups to read and learn about the life of film actress Anne Bancroft. After a teacher-led presentation on her life, each of the groups must complete tasks described by the worksheets embedded in the plan. For any high school film studies class, this would be an ideal lesson. The format could be used for any film star, but would require a new set of worksheets.
Here's an "old-school" lesson plan on an event in US history. High schoolers look into the massive layoffs that occurred in New Orleans in 2005. Discussion and debate take place, and groups of learners must cut and paste a series of events that took place with their result. The worksheets you need to implement the lesson are embedded in the plan. This resource should serve to enlighten your charges as to how unfairly people can be treated.
High-interest articles are a great way to get struggling readers to tackle difficult vocabulary. Here is a lesson that includes such an article. It is focused around a very interesting and controversial article about the teaching of history in Japan. Your class will learn and practice a series of new vocabulary words and phrases included in the short article. This subject, because of its sensitive nature, should be reviewed before use in your class.
Train your eyes and brain to read faster and more accurately. A brief reading test finds out how many words you can read per minute and how much information you retain. It uses this information to choose the appropriate level of difficulty for you to start out on in the app. Once started, you are provided a program of engaging games to improve reading ability.
Young scholars explore the prevalence of racism and statistical segregation in America's schools. They design a project to investigate how the racial makeup of their school compares to other schools. In addition, they evaluate their design and the validity of collected data.