How to Keep Students Engaged While Targeting Literacy Based Goals

How to target literacy skills in an engaging manner?

How can you target inferencing, sequencing, wh-questions, vocabulary building, writing cohesive sentences, and decoding skills all in one activity?

Reading a mystery novel with the students. The process to prepare for this activity is very easy. Each week will target separate goals but use the same materials.

Week one: Focus on vocabulary

Choose about 15 key vocabulary words from between one and three chapters depending on the length of the chapters. The students will spend the first week of sessions working on learning these vocabulary words. The key focus should be on how to determine what the word means using different strategies and not so focused on memorizing the meaning of the words. Playing jeopardy with the vocabulary words is something that keeps the students engaged.

Week two-three: Reading the book

The next few weeks will be reading the chapters that the vocabulary words were pulled from. If possible, pre-highlight the vocabulary words to prime students in order to recall last week's session. While reading the book ask various complex and simple wh-questions based on students' goals. Due to the nature of mystery novels, inferencing can be complex. Scaffolding will help the students make appropriate inferences throughout the text.

Week four: Writing

After reading the chapter the writing activity that is done can be either creative writing or essay style. Creative writing could be having the students create what they think the next chapter will be. Not only does this target syntax and writing cohesive sentences but also making inferences. Essay writing could be more functional and help them target the skills they are learning in class to create a cohesive and appropriate paragraph.

Repeat until the book is done

Depending on the length of the book this could take one month or several months to complete. I also allow for flexibility in this model. If working in groups and the students are not on the same chapter students will work on summarizing for their peers as well.

Book recommendations:

The Inheritance Games

One of Us is Lying

Agatha Christie

A Study in Charlotte


Author: Audrey Hagege CCC-SLP

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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