Friday, November 28, 2014

Get your students thinking with Into the Book!

Into The Book  Entry.png

Into the Book is a fabulous interactive reading comprehension website to teach reading strategies to students. Without exception, my students have found this site to be engaging and one that builds their confidence and success in understanding how to use reading strategies. Do they all become master readers? Not quite, but most students will start deliberately using at least two or three strategies in their reading and are quite proud of themselves that they can articulate why and how they are using it!

The strategies covered are; Using Prior Knowledge, Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, Summarizing, Evaluating and Synthesizing.

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Each strategy has an introductory overview that is read to the student, a short video of a teacher and students in a classroom discussing the strategy...and the best part, interactive activities that students can complete on their own to practice using the strategy. Students can save and print their work or email it to their teacher to print for them. Each activity asks students to use higher level thinking skills and to respond in different ways.

Into the Book  Teacher Area  Resources  Summarizing.png
There is a not only a teaching guide for each activity, but a wealth of teaching resources for the strategies, including watching videos of other teachers teaching, a song, a list of read aloud books to support teaching the strategy, downloadable posters and lesson plans for other activities to do with your class.

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When students go to Into the Book, they click on ‘Students’ to enter the student area. There they will be asked for their ‘Key’, which is their password. Initially, they simply enter their name in the ‘Get a Key’ box and Into the Book generates a password which will be their name with a series of numbers behind it. Once this is recorded, they will use this to enter the site, thereby saving all their work should they not complete an activity in a session.

You can skip the log in process, however, students’ work will not be saved. Teachers do not require a log in to enter the teacher area.

Each section of the interactive activities has an ‘Audio’ button, so low readers can have the information and text read to them. They can go back at any time  and revise their work, or simply start again.

I have used this site with grades two and three. I start with a read aloud from the recommended resources and discuss the strategy with my students. I then introduce the song and the poster, and we do another read aloud and work with the strategy together. Then we go to Into the Book. I have done this both as a whole class and as a centre during our Daily Five time. I have used most of the lesson plan resources and have found them engaging for students. The one drawback is that for some activities, students need to enter text on the site, and that can become an issue for low spellers. I always tell them that I am not marking spelling, but I need to know what they are saying, so to spell the word the way it sounds.