The OWL method encourages a focus on literacy and effective authentic resources in the classroom. Providing differentiated literacy activities that will challenge and support all students, regardless of level, while continuing to provide the interactive classroom environment OWL is known for can leave some teachers scratching their heads and saying “HOW?!” Check out some fun ideas to get your kids immersed in literacy.
Engaging ways to read with students:
Read in a series of different movements and positions: A series of positions allows students to read the same text multiple times without feeling bored or defeated by the task. It also plays into each type of learners strengths.
- First, students read sitting down in the circle. Second students read standing in the circle. Third, students read while humming. Fourth, students walk and read silently. Fifth students walk and read out loud.
Popcorn reading: Popcorn reading allows students to absorb a text independently while hearing context clues from a partner calling out key words.
- Students in pairs read a text silently. When a word stands out to a student, they say the word out loud.
Circumlocution reading: Reading and circumlocuting gives students an opportunity to infer from the text.
- One student reads a text out loud, another student can draw or act out what they hear.
Performance reading: Performance reading gives students manageable chunks of a reading while allowing enjoyment of the entirety of a piece.
- Groups of students are given different key parts of a reading. In their groups they create a performance of the text. They could sing parts, echo parts, dance, or act.
Helping your kids to talk about the text
A way to bring more conversation and life to a text is to ask the students open ended questions that lead to more inquiry and relevance in our classrooms. Instead of asking questions for comprehension, try asking your students some of these types of questions, making sure to use each function of the language to target and push their proficiency level:
- What was the most interesting part of the text?
- What is something you learned from the text?
- What is something you don’t agree with from the reading?
- Tell me in your own words about the poem.
- Compare this text to something else we’ve read in class.
- Compare this text to your own experience with a theme from the reading.
- What do you think about a specific character/theme?
- Do you agree with the author?
- If you could meet the author/subject of the reading what would you ask them?
- Create a question that relates to the text.
- Role-play a scenario from the reading.
Scaffolding and leveling up questions:
It’s vital to push our kids to the next level by giving them opportunities to stretch their language skills. Scaffolding questions allows students of varying proficiency levels to thrive and advance in the same classroom.
- What was the most interesting part of the text? Give 3 supporting details.
- What is something you learned from the text? How has it changed your thinking?
- What is something you don’t agree with from the reading? Explain in detail.
- Tell me in your own words about the poem. Use 5 sentences or more.
- Compare this text to something else we’ve read in class. Tell me how it is the same and how it is different.
- Compare this text to your own experience with a theme from the reading. Share 2 supporting details.
- What do you think about a specific character/theme? Why?
- Do you agree with the author? Expand on your opinion.
- If you could meet the author/subject of the reading what would you ask them? What would be a supporting question to get more information?
- Create a question that relates to the text. Survey your classmates.
- Role-play a scenario from the reading. Add an unexpected complication to your scenario.
Literacy can, and should, be just as fun and engaging as every other activity in the circle. With intriguing activities and authentic resources, students will leave class feeling empowered by literacy. Share with us how you’re engaging students with the power of literacy in your classroom!