Introducing: Building Reading Skills (B.R.S.)

Available for Purchase April 2016

Building Reading Skills

Through Critical Thinking

Building Reading Skills is a complete and comprehensive reading program with an emphasis on critical thinking. Unlike other reading programs, Building Reading Skills addresses, presents, and focuses on a single comprehension story element per unit. This gives teachers the freedom to choose their own novel or read aloud book(s) when introducing the comprehension story element.  

Building Reading Skills is divided into multiple units, and has one comprehension story element per unit. This method was strategically done to promote complete mastery on each element.

When beginning BRS, the introduction unit Summarization and Sequence of Events needs to be completed first, because all other units expect mastery of these two concepts. After the introduction unit, the teacher has the freedom to introduce other comprehension story elements in the order they choose.

BRS is creatively designed, so the teacher decides when mastery of the element has been accomplished before moving on. BRS recommends that each unit is taught with a minimum of one book read aloud and one book read independently. Each comprehension story element can also be repeated throughout the school year by either the whole class or individual student.

Planning lessons using critical thinking skills no longer has to be overwhelming and time consuming for teachers. As you will discover, Building Reading Skills has creatively organized the best practices used every day in classrooms by master teachers like yourself! This step-by-step process makes it easy for teachers to implement in the classroom, while also keeping the students engaged in their learning!

With the exception of the introduction unit and mini units, each BRS reading unit includes the following:

Cover Page: This page is to be placed in the cover sleeve of a clear view binder.

Title/Divider Page: This page is to be used as the divider page for the unit.

Comprehension Element:  Use this page to identify the comprehension story element. Identify the “Think About” points and use the journal section to write those points down.

Summary Page and Story Map Page: These pages may need to be copied multiple times. When reading a chapter book, use these pages for every two to three chapters. When reading a picture book, use these pages once. Page 2 is for documenting the summary of the book or chapters read. Page 3 is for writing and/or drawing the major events of the story in sequence.

Problem and Solution Page: The problem and solution page is to be completed at the end of reading the story. Document the main problem of the story and the main outcome or solution of the story.

Vocabulary Page: The vocabulary page needs to be copied multiple times. Prior to reading, the teacher needs to select approximately 5-10 vocabulary words. Depending on the grade level and/or ability of the students, this vocabulary page can be done as a whole class, a small group, or independently. The selected vocabulary words are used to complete the following tasks using the following shapes:

·         Star Shape: Write the preselected vocabulary word. 

·         Scroll Shape: Students use a dictionary to look up and write the definition of the word.

·         Bubble Shape: Students use a dictionary and a thesaurus to identify the antonyms/synonyms and parts of speech.

·         Cloud Shape: Students create a picture that represents the vocabulary word.

·         Flag Shape: Students create a sentence using the vocabulary word.

Beyond the Book Page: After reading the book, have a class discussion about the following points:

·         My Values and Morals: How does the story or the characters in the story line-up with the students’ morals and values? Are they alike or different? Explain.

·         My Connection: Does the story or the characters in the story remind the students of their life or an event in their life. What in the story is familiar to them?

·         Author Chat: What question(s) would the students like to ask the author of the story? (OR) Research the author and write an interesting fact about him/her.  

Visual Art Page: Students draw a picture(s) reflecting the story they have just read.

Essential Question Pages: Essential questions should first be discussed as a whole class. After the discussion, students should answer the questions individually or with a partner.

Optional Page: This is an optional page that can be used as needed.

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