I just found this great sight of recommended books by James Patterson. One of the books sounds very interesting for explicit read-aloud vocabulary lessons. In The Weighty Word Book Paul Levitt, Douglas Burger, and Elissa Gurainick tell twenty-six pun-filled stories in order to teach 26 multi-syllabic words.
In Cris Tovani's book Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?, we have been reading about the 'so what' of reading comprehension. The major question she asked herself was "How had strategy instruction helped these students understand...?" She goes on to say that strategy instruction is a process where the teacher adapts lessons/activities to the NEEDS of the students and the content you want them to comprehend. She talks modeling, giving students a purpose to read, and showing them different ways to hold their thinking as they read. As I read this, I thought back to when I was teaching social studies and how I didn't do these things when I taught, nor did I even think about these things as I planned my lessons. When I started teaching reading, I modeled my thinking for the students because I realized that they didn't know that they were supposed to be having conversations with themselves about what they were reading. I then thought how I wished I could have used this when I taught social studies. I feel sorry for my students who I had before I learned about how to teach reading comprehension. Social studies could have been more engaging for the students if I had only thought "So What"!!
In this same chapter Tovani shares her Double Entry diary in relation to the "So What" strategy. What have been your successes and challenges with incorporating the diary into your instruction? How have the students responded?