Quick Literacy Strategies

Handout: Cross Curricular Literacy Strategies

Oct 9  Keynote Presentation Literacy and Differentiation Oct 9 Lesson

Alphabet Organizer

I can’t say enough about the beauty of the Alphabet Graphic Organizer. I always keep a spare pile in my room as a back up for any lesson. Here are just a few ways you can use this template.485094_abc_blocks-resized

Here’s a neat online version of the organizer which could be used with a Smartboard or in a 1:1 computer environment.

1) Preview or Review

– have students list words from each letter of words they *think* relate to a topic

– use each letter to review key terms or associated ideas in a unit

2) Summary or Narrative

– each letter, in the correct order, starts the next word or next sentence. Here’s an example I wrote using the story of the  3 Little Pigs.

3) Poem

– use the organizer as a template for an alphabet poem

55 Word Stories

Writing a summary, story, review, answer, definition etc in EXACTLY 55 words is a literary and literacy-related challenge. Students have to select the best words as well as eliminate extraneous words or ideas from their work. This type of activity forces students to organize their ideas before writing.

Stronger students will rise to the challenge and weaker writers will be relived they only need to come up with 55 words. Sentence structure still matters, and students must recognize what constitutes a word and what is a character (.;!,? etc).

Some Examples:

“How many times do I have to tell you not to leave your backpack in the front hallway!” Wendy bellowed from the kitchen table. “Honestly,” she said. “Do they expect me to pick up after them all day?” She sighed and took a sip from her mug. “So where was I?”

All she could hear was the sharp inhale and exhale of her breath and the rhythmic slap of her running shoes against the damp, dark pavement. The sun burst through a pack of clouds, illuminating the rusts, golds, and reds of the leaves and their muddy trunks. A curve in the road. Blue sky ahead.

She sipped her wine. “My professor proposes,” she said, “that we’ve evolved to find beautiful those things that resemble resources essential to survival.”

“Preposterous,” he said, and ran a hand through hair as golden as a field of wheat ready for harvest. She shrugged, and met his eyes, two blue pools of fresh clean water.

6 Sentences

This is a great activity I learned from the brilliant Anne Gripton. I’ll be honest, students hate the idea of this activity. However, once they start working, they are invigorated by the challenge.

1) Ask students to summarize or review an event in history or a chapter in a story.

2) In writing about this summary, they may only use 6 sentences of ‘reasonable length.’

3) They may not repeat a single word – not ‘a, they, the, him, her, in, of’ or anything.

4) Write a draft and review.

5) Finish!

An example:

Sometimes students struggle with writing.

They want to do well but are afraid of an empty page.

Give them a graphic organizer.

This can help provide structure for thinking and organizing.

Once assisted, many create beautiful works.

Challenges result in major successes.

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