As a reading specialist, time is critical to student growth and achievement, and material selection is at the heart of that. Interventionists have to be mindful of several things when trying to get the most bang for the buck. Children needing intervention have no time to lose. Most have lagging decoding skills, lack fluency, struggle with writing (spelling in particular), and because of all of that, miss deeper meaning. Sound familiar?
Last year, I had one hour and thirty minutes to teach reading, writing, spelling, and grammar. That's a tall order, so I had to pick and choose where to focus my energy. Well, we all know that state testing demands that students have strong comprehension skills and vocabulary, and that's how I came up with this product.
Partner Scripts are like Reader's Theater, but they are for use by two persons. After introducing them, students work with their partner to read multiple times for multiple purposes (like the Close Reading Strategy) to improve reading fluency AND comprehension of the text. The scripts also provide students with quality materials they can use as a center when the classroom teacher is meeting with guided reading groups. In addition to ease of use, I've also found that the text can reinforce other skills too. Because I have written them, I've been able to weave into the content some of the science and social studies material into them. My students needed additional reading opportunities to improve their retention of those social studies and science standards, so I wrote one to go with the rocks and minerals unit for example. Finally, partner scripts address the students' need to be social. One of the main characteristics of YA readers is that they crave socializing. They want to talk, so these give them something to talk about and permission to do so.
When I begin using a script, I have the students delve into the topic with a brainstorming activity first. This allows me to see what their schema is for the topic and if I need to fill in or explain to them. I also address vocabulary (typically 5-6 words). The words chosen are tier 2 vocabulary words and content words, and we spend time discussing them (what they mean, synonyms, antonyms, and usage). Once we've done the introduction, students are paired and read it for the first time.
On the second day, we begin to focus on comprehension. Students are asked to mark important parts during reading (using Close Reading Marks...? * !), and as a post reading activity, I ask a few text dependent questions that the partners can work on together. The questions require extended responses (2-3 sentences).
By the time the last day comes, the students are becoming more familiar with the plot, and they're able to read with ease. Students reread and add any additional text marks for content they may have overlooked. The post reading activity is a response to reading writing prompt, so students use what they've read as part of their story or essay.
I have completed approximately fifteen scripts for the upper grades, and this summer, I created a few for younger readers for mixed ability pairs. To preview them, just click the images below.
Until next time...