Endless Possibilities!

Thursday, February 27, 2014
from one crazed curly...Lori

You totally deserve this post because you totally deserve a break! This reading strategy will automatically rope students in with engagement and will spark interest in the reading, encouraging students to actually...I don't know...READ!

Thanks to our recent training with Kylene Beers, I've found one of the best pre, during, and post strategies I've ever used! It's nice for you because once you set it in motion, you can sit back and watch it work beautifully (for a bit). And, it gives them the practice they need to (1) enter a text with a set of expectations, and (2) monitor and adjust their own comprehension.

Possible Sentences--Start by choosing an expository article. For your planning purposes, you want to pull 10 key words and/or phrases. To make it work, think along the lines of:
  • people (avoid names)
  • places (names are ok)
  • problems
  • outcomes
Look! That's me and Suz with Bob Probst and Kylene Beers!
I suddenly feel very...short. 
Display the words for your kids and tell them that they should write 5 sentences incorporating all 10 words/phrases. The sentences should be their best guess as to actual sentences that might be in the upcoming reading. DON'T give them the article! Each sentence should use 2 or 3 words (3 is pushing it). For example, my students read an article about the winner of the 2013 Miss America pageant. They were given the following list:
  • Miss America
  • social media
  • Muslim
  • ignorance of the people
  • the first Indian American to do so
  • deserves better
  • after 9/11
  • embarrassing
  • beauty pageant 
  • prejudice
The second I gave them their task and told them the first pair to work in all 10 words (with reasonable sentences) would get a 100, my kids...my reluctant kids...were ALL over it! This was the Article of the Week, so they took it home to read for homework. 

When they brought it back, they took their original possible sentences and revised them to reflect the actual article. Again, they were all over this and had even read the article! My kids were able to do this, and they enjoyed it! 

While it wasn't a prop-my-feet-on-the-desk kind of break, it was nice to give them a reading task that was engaging and allowed them to feel immediate success. 

If you like this idea, check out my Probable Passage post!


  1. OMG!! I just found your blog on Pinterest... Holy moly.

    I currently teach 10th ELA in Texas as well. I'm a first year teacher in a Title 1 school that is STRUGGLING with EOC. Thank you so much for sharing everything!

    1. Samantha,
      I'm so glad you found us! We've got some things that work for us and have learn from experience others that don't work. We'd love to share with you! Feel free to email us if there is ever anything you need that we haven't addressed on the blog.

  2. First of all, I'm beyond jealous that you go to hang with Kylene Beers! I just bought my second book of hers (Note and Notice, at your recommendation) and I'm devouring it. I've seen this strategy before, in a college class actually, but I've never tried it in a real classroom. Honestly, I wasn't sure if it was going to work. Maybe I'll try it since you had some success with it. Is the focus engagement, or do you find that it improves comprehension?

  3. Hi Rin! It definitely helps with comprehension and the proof is in the revision sentences that follow their reading. I was so impressed with my kids that day. However, it doesn't hurt that the activity really gets them interested, so they do tend to read more carefully. Engagement, comprehension...all of it! Give it a shot!