The first day of Summer School went remarkably well. We started with a warm-up on inference, learned two new root words, and introduced the reading strategy of visualizing. A few students complained, because of course they would have rather been fishing, but overall, a good start to the week.
I didn't realize how important the strategy of visualization was until today. I read my class two short, descriptive paragraphs, while they closed their eyes and pictured the scene in their minds. After each paragraph, we discussed the images they created. Many of them left out key components of the paragraphs, some added things that were never mentioned, and one student told me he didn't understand what he was supposed to be doing.
To better explain this to my class, I read them a picture book (without the pictures) and then drew a picture on the whiteboard of how I related to the picture book. I then read the class another picture book (without showing the pictures) and asked them to draw what they saw in their minds as I read the book. I used picture books that had the same theme.
It was interesting to see how these students connected to the stories, how they used their background knowledge to connect to the themes of the stories, and how some even picked out the symbolism within the books. Standing out above all, was the realization that many students have little experience with using their background knowledge! They are unable to connect because that "connection" has never been sought.
Tomorrow I will be working on how we activate our prior knowledge.