I pulled from waaaaaay back in my bag of tricks for this strategy! It's something I used to use all the time with my 7's and 8's but hadn't had the opportunity to try it out with Grade 3's yet. I have been noticing that my students read through assigned Social Studies and Science articles very quickly and don't seem to really understand what they are reading. Using the "Code the Text" strategy is a great way to get your students to slow down as they read and to really think about the words and ideas they are reading about.
The basic idea for this strategy to create a series of codes, or symbols, that your students can write on the paper as they are reading. This way they are slowing down as they read and making a decision about their understanding. The basic set of symbols I use include the following:
- I knew that!
- That's new information for me.
- Uhhh? I don't get it.
- I think this is very important.
Based on what you want your students to learn from the reading you can always create other codes as well. Perhaps you could have code that they use to compare and contrast a previous reading, or to show character traits? It really could be anything you want.
As the students read through the text you have given them they draw the symbols right on the words/sentences that correspond with the symbols you have created. As you walk through the room it only takes a quick glance to see if a large number of students are having trouble in the same part or if they are really getting it. Or you could also collect the readings from the students and assess their understanding that way.
I created a poster for this strategy using the great clip art from Scrappin Doodles and fonts from Miss Tiina Fonts. Just click on the image to below to get your own copy.