Jun 2, 2013

Modeling REAL READING Using a Simple Mentor Text

Hello there Teacher Friends! Today I'm linking up with Collaboration Cuties to share a MUST READ MENTOR TEXT.

The text that I'd like to share with you is Don't Laugh At Me.  (I've adapted this lesson from Comprehension Connections by Tanner McGregor.)

I use this book because there are VERY FEW words but lots of EASILY INFERRED FEELINGS, perfect for modeling mixing your thoughts with the text.  I like to start every year with a lesson like this because, believe it or not, some students reach fifth grade and don't realize that REAL READERS don't just read the words.  I want to give my students a VISUAL that we can refer to throughout the year and I want to make a BIG impression with this simple lesson.

We use a salad bowl with red and green ping-pong balls for this lesson. I call for two volunteers and explain that I want my red volunteer to drop a red ball into our bowl when I read words from the page.  I then explain that I want my green volunteer to drop a green ball into our bowl each time they can tell I am thinking about the text.  I exaggerate this for effect to make sure we get lots of green balls. ;)  

I'm sure you've guessed the end, and might have seen variations of this lesson before, but by the end of the book, my bowl is over flowing with green thoughts and is only sprinkled with red words.  

I refer to this lesson almost everyday as we begin our independent reading time, and then again before we have our reflection time using STICK PICK.  During our REFLECTION time, I make a point that I only want a little bit of details from their reading, but I want A LOT of their thoughts.  We use a thinking stem anchor chart to get them going if necessary.  They speak beautifully and confidently about their thoughts from their texts within only a few weeks.  

Simple but effective and even my fifth graders need that visual to solidify the importance of adding your thoughts into your text to be a REAL READER.  In my opinion, this is one of the most important lessons we teach our readers. Click over and check out some other Language Arts Mentor Texts. :)
Have a super Sunday!  I'm off  to church, then tennis, then ice cream with the family. :)  Thanks for reading!


  1. This sounds like a fun book! Yet another I haven't read. This amazon wishlist is getting huge lately..... :)
    ideas by jivey
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  2. I love this book. We use it every year during anti-bullying week and our school sings the song, it is very moving! I love your teaching strategy with the red and green balls, would love to try that.

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  3. This sounds like a great book. I love the visual representation that you use to show your thinking. I am going to have to try this next year.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  4. This is great! I have seen the salad bowl idea before, but using ping pong balls is brilliant!
    I'm adding this book to my wish list!

    Koonce’s Korner

  5. I love this book! Thanks so much for sharing the ping-pong ball ideas! I also will be downloading the Stick Pick app from your earlier post. As always, love reading your posts...

    Good day--
    Sarah @ Hoots N' Hollers

  6. This looks like a great book. We look forward to checking it out! Have fun playing tennis!
    Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies

  7. The cover of this book got my attention! What a great visual activity. Thanks for sharing.

    Learning With Mrs. Brinn

  8. This book is new to me and sounds like a must have! I love how you made the lesson come alive using the ping pong balls. This is a fantastic visual lesson. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Foreman Teaches

  9. Love this book and your lesson with the ping pong balls!

  10. What a great visual! I'll have to check out this book out!

  11. I have never heard of this book, but it looks interesting! Have fun!

  12. Ooooo, I love the ping-pong ball idea so much! And, I've never heard of this book! Love it! It will be great at the beginning of the year! Thanks so much for linking up!

    Collaboration Cuties

  13. I have this book and I love the ping pong ball activity! Perfect for the beginning of the year!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  14. I've never heard of this book, but it looks great and the ping pong ball activity is adorable! As I was reading this post in my feed I thought to myself that I bet this is a lesson from Brandee and when I went back to check it was! Your ideas are always so creative and perfect for the classroom. Thanks for sharing!
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  15. This sounds like a great book and lesson! I need to add this to my list of inferring books!

  16. I love this adaptation of the lesson..I've done that lesson before using red and green paper, but I think the twist of adding ping pong balls will make it have more impact. Thanks for sharing! =)

  17. I'm so excited about this one. I had not heard of it before. It sounds like a great book and lesson. Thanks for sharing!

    room 4 imagination

  18. Love, love, love this! Now I must get ping pong balls....who knew?

    I also love Stick Pick! They love hearing the sticks clank around in the can. You can hear a pin drop!


  19. I hadn't heard of this book or the salad bowl strategy...definitely checking out this book and pinning for next year!

    Thank you!
    Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road

  20. And... I'm adding another book to my wishlist. Thanks for the recommendation!



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