Learning Tools For Literature

Use literature tools before, during and after reading to maximize student comprehension.

When reading and composing literature, it is crucial to provide engaging activities that appeal to the wide variety of learning styles in a typical classroom. By introducing various tools for responding to literature and creating text, not only the verbal-linguistic learners are being targeted, but also the kinesthetic and the visual-spatial students. Think about using at least one literature learning tool with each piece of reading or writing that you introduce.

Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers are a valuable tool to use with any grade level when teaching various forms of literature. Organizers such as Venn diagrams, compare and contrast tables and KWL charts appeal to visual-spatial learners and help students organize their thoughts. Additionally, graphic organizers encourage students to make connections between prior knowledge and new learning.

Story Cubes

Story cubes can be easily created or bought at teaching supply stores. A story cube is similar to a large die with one story element written on each face. Examples of elements are setting, plot and characters. During guided reading sessions, a student rolls the die, and talks about the element that he rolled. For example, if a student rolls “setting,” then he says a couple of sentences about the setting of the book. This should not be a stressful activity for students; if they do not know the answer, other students are encouraged to help them out.

Digital Camera

Digital cameras are a helpful tool for creating literature with students. With a camera, students can take pictures and compose text to accompany the pictures. For example, if you are teaching your class use transition words in a “How To” piece, students can take pictures of each step, download them onto a computer, and write the steps of the process to accompany each picture.

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Retelling Manipulatives

Especially for young elementary students, manipulatives are an important part of the story retelling process. Useful manipulatives include finger puppets and other small objects that aid students in the retelling of the story. As they retell they use the manipulatives to create a play or sequence of events, allowing the teacher to assess comprehension.