Developing Self-Regulated Readers through Instruction for Reading Engagement

Authored by: Stephen M. Tonks , Ana Taboada

Handbook of Self-Regulation of Learning and Performance

Print publication date:  March  2011
Online publication date:  May  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415871112
eBook ISBN: 9780203839010
Adobe ISBN: 9781136881664


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During this week Ms. Baker and her fourth grade students are focusing on the science concept of life cycles. They are specifically learning about the life cycles of frogs and the monarch butterfly. By the end of the week they aim to answer the weekly question: “How are monarch butterflies’ and frog’s life cycles different and similar?” They are using books such as Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons (1991), It’s a Frog’s Life: My Story of Life in a Pond by Steve Parker (1999), and Food Chain Frenzy by Anne Capeci and John Speirs (2004). All trade books contain appealing text features and rich content. Ms. Baker has started the week by letting students observe the life cycle of a frog. This observation will take several weeks (from tadpole to frog) so students will be recording their observations weekly. Teachers and students will decide on a consistent schedule for these observations. For the current week they will only observe tadpoles and note the development of gills, legs, tails, and arms as these change in the developing frogs. Students will also start the week by having some time to explore books on monarch butterflies and frogs. Although all students will be learning about the life cycles of both butterflies and frogs this week, they will be given the opportunity to choose one animal on which to focus in order to write a short booklet at the end of the week. After students explored some books, Ms. Baker worked with her students on how to activate background knowledge for the topic of life cycles of monarch butterflies by using a KWL chart. She also wrote students’ text-based questions about the topic on a wall chart for all to see, with students’ initials next to their self-generated questions. Previously, students have practiced activating their background knowledge before reading a book, so they are used to taking notes on KWL charts and using them before and after reading. The focus strategy for this week is comprehension monitoring. Thus, after some background knowledge activation on monarch butterflies, Ms. Baker models how she monitors her comprehension for two pages of the text. She explains that she first needs to set up a goal for reading. In this case she wants to learn about the migration patterns of monarch butterflies. She asks students why they think setting goals for reading is necessary and important. Her goal is to get them thinking about specific content such as the migration trips monarch butterflies take, and have students realize that when we read expository texts one of our goals is to learn and build new knowledge. She reminds students that it is important to distinguish a main idea from supporting details and provides an example.

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