Students can learn a great deal from working with their peers. These independent reading activities can be given to a student, and then he shares with his reading buddy, giving them practice with sharing their writing and responding to what others write.
Setting Up the Activity
There are several different ways to set up these reading activities for your classroom. You can write the activities down on cards and choose a new one to display each day, or the students can choose a card from a basket to complete. Or, the activities can be displayed on a bulletin board. Each day you use the reading activity, you can use an arrow on the bulletin board to point to the particular activity that you want the class to complete that day. The use of a reader's response journal for these activities keeps the student's work all in one location, and helps them keep track of incomplete work that may need their attention.
Here is a listing of the activities and prompts:
If you were writing the next part of the story, what would happen?
- Complete a story map in your notebook, include the following: Character, Setting, Plot/Problem, Solution
- What text-to-self, text-to-world, or text-to-text connections did you make while reading the story? Describe your connections in detail.
- If you were the author, how would you change the story?
- Create a character web about one of the characters from your story. Include the character's name, how he or she felt, what he or she looks like, what he or she did, describe his or her personality traits.
- Compare this story to another story or movie.
- Take notes while you read today. Include: predictions, ask questions, write your thoughts and opinions, write down any ideas or words that need to be clarified, make connections, summarize, describe character traits and emotions.
- What happened in the beginning, middle, and end. Depending on the reading level, this can be the beginning, middle, and end of the book or of a particular chapter.
- What is your favorite part and why?
- Predict what will happen next in the story. Support your prediction with parts in the story that led you to come to these conclusions.
- Retell the story in sequence. Use transition words in your writing.
Using Reading Buddies
Once the writing activities are completed, the students should get with their reading buddy and share their writing. Encourage students to be active listeners and to ask questions. The pair should thoughtfully discuss any questions or suggestions, and then switch roles. When students talk about their writing, they become better writers. Reviewing and discussing the writing of others is also an important step in writing development. Have students change reading buddies weekly, or twice a month so that they share the experience with all of their peers.