Daily Archives: March 22, 2015

A Telling Text – Letting the Text Guide Next Instructional Moves

This is an intellectual exercise we used to learn how we might analyze a text.  The idea here is to look more closely at the text we are using with our students. This could be useful when you are starting a group on a new level.  It is important to both understand the reader and the text for the teaching.  That is really the heart of it and this can help guide you.


Title: How Grandmother Spider Got The Sun

Level : J

A note about Level J readers: In fiction characters generally do not change since the plots are relatively simple and texts are not long.  Readers are able to automatically recognize a large number of words and can quickly apply word-solving strategies to multisyllable words with inflectional endings, suffixes, and prefixes.  They read silently and independently while reading individually in guided reading.  

Text Structure:Traditional Literature (pourquoi tale)

  • Content: Provide background knowledge about the characteristics of the animals in the story – buzzard, the opossum, and spider.
  • Themes and Ideas: A few abstract ideas that are highly supported by the text and illustrationsspiderwoman
  • Language and Literary Features: Language characteristic of traditional literature in some text, Most text told from a single POV with some having several points of view
  • Sentence Complexity: Many sentences with embedded clauses and phrases
  • Vocabulary: Most vocabulary words are know by children through oral language or reading
  • Words: Many two to three syllable words, Wide range of high frequency words
  • Illustrations: Some complex and artistic illustrations that communicate meaning to match or extend the text
  • Book and Print Features: Print and Layout: Ample space between lines, Print in most illustrated text clearly separated from pictures
  • Punctuation: Periods, quotes commas and exclamation points
  • Tools:  No tools

When introducing this text in guided reading keep this in mind:

  • lean into the repetition
  • lean into the changes that happen to the character (confident can do it, burned, ran home, lost something)
  • problem/solution format
  • fluency-phrasing
  • read silently

So, the way I see this book going is:

Day One- About the text;focus on pourquoi tale genre and problem and solution structure

Day Two- Within the text; focus on fluency by looking at phrasing and change in character

Day Three- Beyond the text; focus on identifying the message or moral of the story

Final Thoughts:

This process is familiar to me as I typically analyze a text before using it for guided reading.  It is helpful to see it in writing since it is a reminder of the important features I would like to incorporate into my lessons.  This can also be useful when discussing the different levels with parents.  Give it a try and let us know what you think.