Retelling Rainbows- Using the 5 Finger Retell Model

You might be wondering “Why is retelling a story so important?” You probably have heard myself or other teachers telling you about your child’s retell (the ability to recall facts/main ideas from text). The reason: retelling shows that your child comprehends and understands what he reads! And that, of course, is the ultimate goal of reading!

second-grade-rainbows-and-pics-march-4-2008-009.jpgIn order to help us improve our retells, we have learned about the five finger model in our class. To spice it up for St. Patricks Day, our class has made retelling rainbows on our favorite books. We traced our hands on different colors of paper (each color representing a different step in the 5 finger model). We wrote the characters on the red hand, the setting on the orange hand, the sequence of events on the yellow hand, the problem on the green hand, and the solution on the blue hand. We went a step further and wrote the main ideas on purple.second-grade-rainbows-and-pics-march-4-2008-008.jpg

I recently read online about a school district who uses the take 5 minutes to ask 5 questions apsecond-grade-rainbows-and-pics-march-4-2008-008.jpgsecond-grade-rainbows-and-pics-march-4-2008-008.jpgproach to improving the quality of reading time at home. I love this school/home connection so much I had to include it in this post! After you read with your child, have him complete a 5 finger retell. This step by step approach will allow your child to practice retelling easily. They just need to remember these 5 questions:

1. Who is in the story?second-grade-rainbows-and-pics-march-4-2008-008.jpg
2. Where and when does the story take place?
3. What events happened in the beginning? Middle? End?
4. What was the problem in the story?
5. How is the problem solved?

I know that if you take 5 to ask 5, your child’s retells and comprehension will increase! 🙂

20 Questions Gameshow Quizzes Our Comprehension

The remarkable readers in our classroom are using many fabulous strategies to help them comprehend their reading! One of these strategies is QUESTIONING. Good readers ask questions! Good readers ask DEEP questions before, during, and after reading text. “What will this book be about?” “Does that sentence make sense?” “Does this word sound right?” “What is the author’s purpose for writing this book?”

Good readers don’t just stop at ASKING the questions- they try and find the answers! “Can I infer this word’s meaning?” “Do I need to look in a dictionary?” “Is there another book that would have the answer to my question?” (Good readers don’t mind a little research to better their understanding)

The powerpoint for this week is a 20 questions gameshow- where YOU come up with the questions for each reading scenario! Remember- good readers ask many thin and thick questions!!


listen to our questioning song:



The Results Are In! Our Class Graphs Favorite Genres

polls.gifYou might have noticed the online poll our class has had on our blog. We asked the question: What is your favorite genre? 29 people replied. According to our survey, the genre mystery had the most votes. With that information, we went to work creating different graphs to represent what we learned.

To start the activity, I divided the kids into 5 groups. I passed out all the materials needed to create the graphs as well as a printed copy of the poll results. Everybody was an important part of completing their group’s project. We made 5 different graphs and tables- bar graph, line graph, pie graph, pictograph, and a tally table. Not only was this a great cooperative learning activity, but it was tons of fun to use an online poll from our blog to help us understand the different types of graphs!

p2190169.JPG p2190166.JPG p2190168.JPG p2190167.JPG

Genres Boost Reading Motivation

This quarter the second grade is working on reading from a variety of genres. Why, you may ask? The answer is simple- reading from a variety of genres increases students motivation to read. We all have our own reading identities– and because of that we enjoy different types of books. Sometimes second graders haven’t found the genre that captures their attention, and they just need a little guidance as to all the types of books that are avaible!

The goal consists of your child reading a book from a specific genre, and then writing a pie piece of information about the book. These pieces will come back to school and will be glued to your child’s “genre pie”. When all pieces are brought back, your child can attend the third quarter reading party. I will insert a link to the genre letter- they can go in any order- just read, write, and most importantly, have fun!

Happy Reading Second Grade!

genre-pie.JPG genre-pie-2.JPG



Do I Infer? The answer’s YES!

When we infer text in second grade, we make smart guesses based on clues in the story. Inferring is an important reading strategy that allows us to be better thinkers as well as readers.

Our class recently learned a song that will help us to remember what inferring is all about! (click here to learn more about inferring from our class website)

Listen to our inferring song:



Second graders will refer to their schema as a “filing cabinet in their brain”… and they are absolutely right! Schema is all about activating our prior knowledge about a book before, during, and after we read. It is making those CONNECTIONS with the story that allow us to FEEL and UNDERSTAND more. Those meaningful connections will help us to understand the author’s purpose and other story elements DEEPER and CLEARER. We can connect in different ways to the books that we read. Whenever you sit down to read a book, you think about what you already know about the subject (we call it searching in our mental filing cabinets). Our schema, or background knowledge, can change as we learn new information. We delete or modify our schema as we continue to learn! (click here to learn more about our schema from our class website)

Listen to our second graders sing the schema song:


Text to Self Connections

We have been talking about how we CONNECT to books that we read by using our schemas or background knowledge. Through making connections, our understanding becomes deeper of what we have read. We can begin to feel what the characters are feeling and really get a sense of author’s purpose and any lessons that we can learn from a story.

One type of connection is called a text to self connection. Good readers will think “Wow- when I read the part about: _______ ,it reminded me of: __________.” Or in other words- that book connects to ME.

I would absolutely love to hear a text to self connection you have had with a book. Remember to use the correct text to self connection language- when I read about:______ it reminded me of:___________.

You are a brilliant class! Room 203 is shining!!