Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Synthesizing Reading Texts: putting it all together

My students have just finished their literature circles and are excited to share about their books.  They read some great books this time: Rules, The Westing Game, and Bridge to Terabithia.

(side note: If you haven't read The Westing Game, do it! It's a great mystery for higher level readers.  There are a lot of characters to keep track of and plot twists, but I got raving reviews from my fifth graders about how much they loved this text! They even read ahead and finished it before they were supposed to.  I mean, that is what I wanted!   A love of reading!)

I thought it would be a nice change of pace to partner them up within their lit circle groups and have them "artistically synthesize" their books.  

A big word we use all the time in Room 5 is EVIDENCE!  It seems like I say that a zillion times a day and it's never enough!  We talk about citing from the text, using direct quotes, and all the evidence-based terms I want to see in their answers all the time (because, for instance, it says in the text, the author says, from my reading I know, it says on page ___).  This was a great way to integrate that into a fun project.  This is the infamous poster in my room that I refer to CONSTANTLY!

I will say, however, that I let them have some free reign on this.  I gave them the guidelines of what I wanted in this handout.  (click to download if you want a copy).

I wanted to see what they could do on their own with minimal teacher help and use it as an informal assessment as I walked around and eavesdropped on conversations.  

In the section where it says Reading Strategy Focus, I put in character traits.  We are finishing our topic about character study and finding evidence for how and why the character acts.  I wanted them to list the main characters and their characteristics, and use quotes from the text to support their trait.  If you're doing this in your room, you can write in whatever reading strategy you're working on.

Initially, they were super excited to have some ownership in this project and get to put their creativity into it.  They began with rough drafts of what they were to say in each part.  

After a couple days of working (at about 30-45 minutes at a time) this is the final result! They came out great, and the kids blew me away with their creativity!


Have a great week!


  1. I love this idea! I will definitely have to try out with my students before the year ends. I have a similar chart for evidence based terms. My kids are doing great with the terms, but I love how you turned it into a fun activity. Thanks for sharing!
    Fifth Grade Wit and

  2. Thanks Chelsea! They really enjoyed working on this...and they worked really good in pairs and some groups of 3. I found that if there were any more than 3 they really were more off task. Always looking for great fun ideas!


Your comments make me happy!! Thanks for taking the time to say a few words. Be sure to leave your email if you are a no-reply blogger!