Strategy 9: Text on Text

(after reading)

This is a group activity for digging into either the narrative in a lesson, along with its examples, or a complex word problem. Sometimes it is called “Collaborative Annotation.”

text_on_text_example.jpgGive the students the narrative or problem, copied from the textbook and pasted into the middle of a sheet of chart paper. Then as they read together and brainstorm the meaning of the text or problem, each student writes their understanding, one at a time, around the outside of the text, on the chart paper.

Each person’s contribution is read, considered, discussed and valued. The overall result is a group consensus on the meaning in the text or problem. If it’s a problem, students can then begin to suggest strategies (plans) for solving it.

You can have students do this in steps:
  1. First, have them paraphrase the text passage.
  2. Then, in a different color, have them write inferences or connections they see in the text.
  3. In a third color, have them draw arrows connecting something they wrote to something written by someone else, to show a connection between their thoughts.

See the nice poetry example in the handouts from Kylene Beers, When Kids Can’t Read: What Teachers Can Do, A Guide for Teachers 6-12, p. 128 .

Assignment: Try it and write about how well it worked (or didn't work, and why) with your students. Tell us what you used for the piece of text. Did you have students do anything more than just write their own understanding of the text?
Use the discussion tab on this page for your reflection.