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Paired Reading Passages

Common Core has mixed connotations in the world of education... regardless, it's a reality and it's important that we keep our students abreast on the standards given by the government. The district I work for is absolutely incredible... I cannot sing praises enough! One great PD they had us do as 2nd grade teachers was sit down with the 3rd grade teachers and figure out where the deficits were coming across the grade levels. In New York, state testing begins as early as 3rd grade.. BLAH! And unfortunately, it comes across as a large stress inducer for the poor little babes subjected to THE TEST. That being said, there were a few things that came to my attention that showed gaps in my teaching in 2nd grade... finding text based evidence (Instructional Shift #4 demanded from Common Core) was a big one and also integrating information from two texts and then writing about the subject knowledgeably (CCLS.ELA.RI.2.9, CCLS.ELA.RI.39, CCLS.ELA.RI.4.9). 

Oh boy... those are big ones! And I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT want to become one of those teachers that started teaching to the test. So I thought about how I could integrate these two DIFFICULT concepts into my 2nd grade classroom as authentically as possible... Then it came to me, Guided Reading! I love teaching reading and I often write my own guided reading passages and questions so that I can focus the short amount of time we have as much as possible. 

So that was the answer! I created passages that not only forced students to go back and look for text based evidence to answer questions, but also were paired fiction & non-fiction topics

My friends that really struggle with reading, were not quite developmentally ready for this undertaking of paired passages in second grade. However, my students reading as low as Level K were ready for the challenge! 

As I said, I started by creating a fiction and nonfiction passage about the same topic. Then created multiple choice and short response questions for each one. I then created short response questions that required information from both passages! Synthesizing is such a difficult but crucial skill for kids to learn! High up on that Bloom's Taxonomy, am I right?! 

At the higher levels (Fountas & Pinnell levels M, N & O), I also included a "pre-reading" component where kids would activate their prior knowledge for the nonfiction passages. They were required to make predictions for the fictional passages as well! 

To conclude, the kids were given a venn diagram to compare and contrast the two texts. This again triggers higher level thinking, and invites the kids back to do close reading and find text based evidence in both passages! Phew! Hard work! 

Have any other questions on this topic? Leave them in the comments section below! If not, how do you teach this difficult concept of paired passages to your little guys? I'd love to hear your ideas! 

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