One More Thanksgiving Lesson: Four Skills and Synthesis Writing

What do you do when you have finished a project the day before and there is one more day before a 4-day holiday? Games? Party? How about some reading and writing?

I love games and fun days “off” from teaching in the classroom, but I wanted to gives students some context and substance for the day they might be celebrating – one which seems like a big deal to many Americans: Thanksgiving.

Newsela provided the source material, which I adapted into a jigsaw, similar to my previous Thanksgiving post.

I began the lesson by asking students about the food they have heard about or eaten for Thanskgiving. I showed a picture of a Thanksgiving spread and went through some of the common foods: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, salad, pumpkin pie, etc. I then asked them why we eat these foods and had them recall the story of Thanksgiving. There were vague notions of harvests and thanking the land. I gave a very brief overview of the story of Thanksgiving, including explaining who Pilgrims and Native Americans are. Then, I introduced the activity for the day. We were going to answer the question: Did the Colonists eat the same foods in 1621 that we eat today?

I explained we would read some information, share it with each other, and then write about it.

Reading

I showed the introduction to the article on the screen so that everyone had the same background. We read and discussed it together.

I then gave students each a different section of the article to read. My adapted version can be downloaded here. In my adapted version, there were four sections: What about Turkey?, Please Pass the Eels, No Pie?, and Modern Thanksgiving.

After reading it for five minutes and me helping students with unknown vocab or concepts, I put students together in groups, jigsaw-style, so that each group member had read a different article.

Speaking and Listening

Students had to share what they had learned from their article. While listening, students had to take notes. I gave about 10 minutes for this activity. Students worked to give their information, clarify (for example, the difference between clams and mussels), and finally, ask me any questions.

Writing

Finally, for the remaining 15-20 minutes, I told students they would need to describe, in writing and using both their article and their notes, the foods eaten during the first Thanksgiving and why our modern Thanksgiving menu is different. I reminded students about writing a clear topic sentence and gave a model outline, though students were free to organize their writing in any way they wanted. I gave feedback as they wrote.

Reflection

I was actually very surprised at the quality of the work. They were able to incorporate many of their partners’ details and most write in a very logical way. I felt, though I did not explain, that this was good practice for synthesizing information, and I think I could use this similar framework for teaching synthesis in the future. I wish students had more time to write, but given the brevity of the class, what they turned in (about a paragraph) seemed very good. I will give some general feedback and return their papers in December. This activity also gave me a chance for informal assessment of writing organization, grammar, mechanics, etc., which I will definitely incorporate into our final weeks together.

Like my previous Thanksgiving lesson, this one was not “fun” in the traditional sense, but was received as very interesting and, as I explained, would make a great conversation topic for anyone sitting down to a Thanksgiving feast.

Comparing Stories of the First Thanksgiving – A Lesson in Understanding Author Perspective

I’m no historian, but I am a fan of History. I have binge watched Crash Course, attended local history events, enjoy reading history books for fun, and from time to time, teach a US history-themed course. Whenever I can, I inject US history into my classes, not as a form of patriotism, but because it provides a great platform for critical thinking and contextual / cultural understanding.

Thanksgiving is in several days and I was inspired to do something related to the holiday in my reading class, where most of my critical thinking instruction happens. I found a great lesson plan from the New York Times called “What Really Happened? Comparing Stories of the First Thanksgiving“. In this lesson, students are supposed to investigate competing stories of the first Thanksgiving and by doing so consider evidence and author perspective. They link to several general articles about Thanksgiving, several articles written from a Native American perspective, and several from a more conservative or right-wing perspective.

The articles they link to are great, but are written in a way that is very inaccessible to English language learners, even at advanced level. Furthermore, the lesson plan as they described it would likely take several hours or class sessions. Given that my learners are advanced but still would struggle with the readings, and that I simply wanted to do a one-off pre-Thanksgiving lesson, I heavily adapted their suggestions and did the following in jigsaw reading lesson in class:

  1. I found three suitable articles, one from each perspective, and simplified the language so that they were short (could be read in less than 10 minutes) and relatively easy to understand. You can see the articles I used here.
  2. I divided the class into three groups and gave each group copies of their respective articles. They had 10 minutes to read the article.
  3. Students then discussed the article in their groups. They had to answer the following questions:
    1. What were the main events of the article?
    2. What was interesting or surprising about the article?
    3. Who wrote the article? Why do you think they wrote it?
  4. After about 10 minutes, I broke the students up into new groups, where 1 student from each article came together to form a group of students who read different articles. I then gave them the final discussion question:
    1. Briefly summarize your article.
    2. What differences exist between the stories?
    3. Why do you think the stories are different?
  5. I walked around, monitored and facilitated student discussions, hinting at them to check the article’s authors to help answer the last two questions.
  6. Finally, we came together as a whole class and I asked them about the last question. We talked about perspective and the need to understand who the author is and why they may be writing something.
  7. We then briefly review each article and why they were written. I frame this debriefing discussion in terms of “myths” and explain how all countries have them, and that the story of Thanksgiving is an important founding myth of out country.
    1. The First Thanksgiving” from National Geographic Kids is the typical story of Thanksgiving, but it is simplified story missing many details. This is due to the general audience, trying to take a neutral stance, and the fact that kids should probably not be exposed to violence. We talked about what a neutral stance means and the fact that this may be the only story Americans are exposed to.
    2. The Real First Thanksgiving” is told from the Native American perspective. It is described as one event in a long series of injustices against the Native people, and it is mostly historically accurate. I reviewed briefly how Squanto and the Wampanoags are treated in these first two stories. (Note: despite its unprofessional look, the website contains information that is very accurate – I checked them against several other sources).
    3. The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving” is told from a conservative, right-wing political perspective. Students generally have little background on what this means in the American context, so this needs a brief explanation. I also point out that the article focuses on individualism, capitalism, and American values, but it has debatable accuracy (something that is explained more in this New York Times article).

By the end of this lesson (which, by the way, I taught for the first time), students were shocked by the details of Thanksgiving, but they also really enjoyed seeing a story from multiple perspectives and they told me they realized how important it is to not only judge an article based on where it was published, but also on who wrote it, and that this may actually have an effect on how something is interpreted.

This is a lesson I will definitely reuse again, as it was very timely and interesting for the students, and introduced a powerful lens of critical thinking. Hopefully, next time I can take more time and get students to do deeper reads on this and similar topics.

ARC Priming: A Quick Idea for Getting Students Started with Academic Reading Circles

If you are a reader of my blog or a follower on Twitter, you will probably note that I am a big fan of Academic Reading Circles. I have convinced at least one other faculty member to use them regularly, and I have given several presentations about ARCs. I own the e-book, but hope to get the paper edition one day, signed by Tyson himself.

Anyway, I am always trying to find new ways of tweaking ARCs to fit student levels, class needs, and in general, improve the quality of the work students do. Sometimes, the biggest struggle is getting students to analyze texts in-depth from the different perspectives (roles). It’s not uncommon for students to ask superficial questions as the Leader, choose irrelevant vocabulary as the Highlighter, or unimportant references as the Contextualizer. A lot of this comes down to introducing and scaffolding ARCs in the right way.

We typically build an abbreviated version of ARC handouts together as a class, working with all roles. I also get students of the same role to work together during their first ARC so that they can work together to build knowledge of their role, and so I can easily give feedback. We also work on the different microskills that ARCs encourage throughout the term, such as working with contextual references during non-ARC readings.

However, I have also found one other idea to be very effective at introducing and maintaining ARC perspectives: priming articles with guiding questions. I believe Tyson has mentioned this before, but I’m not sure where – I don’t think in his book. What I mean by priming is giving students articles that are annotated with a few questions meant to get them thinking and reading through the lens they have been assigned. I always provide printed copies of the articles and add line numbers for ease of discussion. I also provide comments in the margins that ask different roles questions. I have found that this priming is effective at getting students in the right mindset, assuring deeper analysis, and, in turn, a quality discussion.

Check out my example below:

A recent "primed" article given to students for an upcoming ARC.

A recent “primed” article given to students for an upcoming ARC.

Academic Reading Circles in the University Classroom

This is a companion post to my 2016 Innovation in Teaching and Learning Symposium at UT. You can click here to download my presentation and handout.

Academic Reading Circles (ARCs) is an intensive reading activity that is meant to improve reading engagement and deep processing of text (as opposed to superficial engagement) while at the same time promoting independent reading, learner inquiry, ownership of knowledge, and collaborative meaning making. In other words, It was originally designed for foreign and international students studying English for Academic Purposes (EAP). However, the ARC approach can be easily transferred to any university classroom where reading and discussion are commonplace.

In addition, there is a lot to suggest that ARCs are effective at improving comprehension. First, they are based on literature circles, which have a great deal of research behind them. The research on literature circles shows improvements in comprehension, even in struggling readers (Williams, 2015; Murphy et al, 2009). Increases in motivation have also been observed (Covert, 2009). While much of the research has been conducted at the K-12 level, there is some evidence that it is effective at the college level as well (Thomas, 2013).

ARCs are very similar to literature circles; however, rather than fiction, semi-academic and academic texts are explored in-depth. The types of skills and strategies that ARCs engage, as well as the social nature of the discussion, lend themselves to comprehension improvement. The range of strategies that are utilized is large: summarizing, rereading, monitoring, questioning, critical thinking, evaluation, visualization, researching, synthesizing, and connecting to name a few.

Below is a basic outline of ARCs. If you are interested in learning more, I recommend checking the links at the end of the post or purchasing the book, Academic Reading Circles by Tyson Seburn.

The Process

  1. A common text is given to students to read independently outside of class.
  2. Students read the text-based on an assigned role and produce a handout following the role’s requirements.
  3. Students bring copies of their handout for each group member and discuss text.
  4. Students complete a follow-up activity (optional).

The Text

The text can be any non-fiction text that you find suitable. Examples could be academic journal articles, magazine or newspaper articles, textbook chapters, primary sources, government documents, white papers, and so on. This text must be the same for all members in a group.

The Roles and Handouts

  • Leader
    • Asks critical thinking to ensure foundational understanding of text
    • Sections text by idea/topic (n.b. journal articles, conveniently, often come pre-sectioned!)
    • Provides summary of key points of each section of the text
    • Asks discussion questions to promote greater analysis of text
    • Promotes group member participation
  • Highlighter
    • Focuses on meaning and use of topical/discipline-specific vocabulary
    • Focuses on meaning and use of repeated and important keywords unrelated to topic or discipline
    • Asks close reading questions to promote analysis of language usage
  • Contextualizer
    • Identifies important references to key people, places, events, or ideas (that are not fully explained in the text) in order to improve comprehension of article
      • This may also include background knowledge of concepts mentioned in the text
    • Gives short, bulleted points about references and provides an explanation as to why the author mentioned this reference
  • Visualizer
    • Uses visuals to help students understand important concepts in the text
      • Photos, charts and graphs, maps, timelines, infographics, etc.
  • Connector
    • Find connections between the text, outside sources, and personal experience
      • Typically, students find connections between the text and other readings in the course, other courses, current events, and personal experience

The Handout

The handout can be made in any way that suits your teaching context and needs. Typically, students make the handouts and print them out – one for each member of the group. The quality of the information on the handout can be assured through a scaffolded and guided process during the first ARC. For information on what is included on a handout, you can check Tyson’s original book, or read my post here, which includes example student handouts and more detailed information.

The Discussion

Discussions are typically 50-75 minutes and require a great deal of interaction from students. Discussion usually follow this format:

  1. Leader asks critical thinking questions.
  2. Leader gives line numbers (if available) for each section of the text.
  3. Leaders gives summary of section one, followed by group discussion. This discussion could include adding or amending any points.
  4. Highlighter discusses important vocabulary in section one, if any.
  5. Contextualizer discusses important references in section one, if any.
  6. Visualizer presents visual information in section one, if any.
  7. Connector discusses important connections in section one, if any.
  8. Leader moves to section two and the process repeats for each section.
  9. Finally, the leader asks discussion questions.

The Follow-Up

It is important to take the great effort, learning, and momentum of the discussion and direct it towards a coda. This could be anything pertinent to your class. Examples of follow-ups could be a whole-class discussion/debriefing, a group summary or written report, short writing assignments, or group or individual quizzes.

Conclusion and More Information

I hope that you can see the value of employing ARCs in content classes. For more information, please check the following links:

References

Covert, K. (2009). Literature circles and their effects on student motivation and reading comprehension (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1460&context=ehd_theses

Murphy, P. K., Wilkinson, I. A., Soter, A. O., Hennessey, M. N., & Alexander, J. F. (2009). Examining the effects of classroom discussion on students’ comprehension of text: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(3), 740.

Thomas, D. M. (2013). The effects of literature circles on the reading achievement of college reading students (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from here.

Williams, C. (2015). What impact does literature circles have on struggling readers’ comprehension? (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from http://csusm-dspace.calstate.edu/handle/10211.3/142289.

Reading with a Purpose: Practical Ideas for Connecting Reading and Writing

There have been a number of scholars who have not only called on pursuing a more connected relationship between reading and writing, but facilitating this through reading with a purpose. If you assign reading, especially if you teach classes that focus on reading (I teach reading-only classes, you may have noticed that often the only purpose of reading is to read, maybe answer a few questions (multiple choice, true false), and maybe use the text as a springboard for related discussion or writing.

The problem here is that this approach neither represents academic reading nor serious or critical engagement with the text. Academic reading rarely approaches reading from a comprehension-check point of vue. Instead, it requires serious engagement with the text in order to learn knowledge, apply knowledge, or critically evaluate related content. In addition, academic reading is often intimately connected with writing.

Even if you do not teach English for academic purposes, our everyday purposes for reading are typically are also not represented by the coursebook. Rarely do we read to check our comprehension. We always read for a purpose: learn something new, support or refute and opinion, apply something we read to a new situation or solve a problem, and even write a blog post about what we read.

Therefore, I’ve made a more focused goal of giving as much purpose as possible to the readings we do in class. For this post, I’m going to focus on an intermediate and advanced reading classes to exemplify some of the assignments I have given and the purposes they fulfill.

Summary – Prove your understanding

Have you ever read an interesting article and then told your friend about it? Have you ever read an anger-inducing article and then wrote about it, but had to boil down the main ideas before you could pick them apart? That is summary at work. It is a very basic writing (and speaking) skill that is applicable in all sorts of situations, especially academic ones.

I make it an effort to stress summary writing for many of our readings. I tell students the purpose of their reading is to explain the article or arguments to another person using their own words and through writing. Summary writing is a very general assignment and, while it may seem like a very didactic and teacher-focused assignment (which, to a large extent it is) it is still a base skill that is needed for many other types of writing. And, it is a gentle way to introduce students to reading with a purpose.

I like to teach summarizing by having students take notes on what they are reading, and reconfigure those notes into bullet-point summaries. Once they have bullet-point summaries down, I show how they can transform those summaries into paragraph summaries. This can further be trimmed to three sentence, one sentence, and Twitter summaries!

Evaluation – Prove your point

Getting students to read and then state their opinion is nice, but it really is not making them responsible for the text. It is simply using the text as an inspiration, or what Leki and Carson (1997) call “non-text responsible writing” – something that serves “to infantilize our students, denying them a stance of engagement with serious and compelling subject matter”.

Instead of offering their opinion of a text, idea, or argument, what students can do is critically evaluate that text, or the idea from another text. For example, students in my intermediate reading class read a bland article about fast food that you could find in pretty much any coursebook. One of the paragraphs focused on the negative health effects of fast food and contained a single sentence that stated fast food restaurants are trying to address these effects by introducing healthier food. My students also read this LA Times article (from Newsela, at a slightly lower level) that presented research which claimed “that the location where foods are obtained may not be as important as the nutritional quality of the foods consumed;” in other words, overall diet played a more important role than fast food restaurants, and in fact, often influenced a person’s choice about eating fast food.

I didn’t assign any questions or quizzes about this article. I simply told students we are going to use this research-based argue to evaluate whether fast food restaurants offering healthy choices would be effective for reducing obesity. Students had to write a paragraph explaining their evaluation of this move, and support their evaluation with evidence from the reading. Some students struggled because they did not know how to use an article as support (another crucial skill). Others simply wanted to give their opinion unrelated to the article. But, after working with students, there were many successful assignments completed.

Student Example

Almost all the customers tend to choose meals that are include a lot of fats, sugar, and salt if the restaurants offer fruits, salad, and yogurt. In addition, we don’t gain weight or become obese just because we eat fast-food. According to the research, people who eat non-fast food are also overweight or obese. Therefore, fast-food restaurants that offer healthy meals would not be effective for avoiding overweight and obese. Because not only fast-foods but also other high calorie foods are the reason why we become overweight or obese.

 

Comparison – Show the connection

Being able to compare and contrast two arguments, two ideas, or two texts gives student great practice in summary, evaluation, and explanation. However, trying to find a text that is similar to the generic ones in most coursebooks is often difficult, but not impossible. In one of my advanced reading classes, the coursebook an excerpt from two books: Lost in Translation by Eva Hoffman and The Struggle to Be an All-American Girl by Elizabeth Wong. These excerpts focused on students adapting to different cultures and gave my readers a great chance to explore comparison and contrast. They read both articles with the purpose of comparing the authors’ experiences. Not only did this give them a realistic purpose for reading, but it also helped them focus their reading skills, making them pay attention to things they could compare and contrast.

Student Example

Eva Hoffman and Elizabeth Wong have two similar and two different experiences with each other. The first similarity between them is adapting to a new language and culture. For example, just as  Eva became cold in her language and more careful in speaking, such as trying not to be direct and loud or using gestures closely as Canadians, so did Elizabeth. Chinese was embarrassing for her and “[her] favorite heroine never spoke Chinese”, so she probably did not like any Chinese heroines. The second similarity between Eva and Elizabeth is the loss of their mother’s authority over their children. In the same way that Eva’s mother lost her sureness of controlling her children and did not know the new rules to know what they were are doing, Elizabeth’s mother failed at in controlling her children to be Chinese and they felt more American and multicultural.

 

Students can also compare ideas within a text. Newsela offers a great number of PRO/CON articles that offer two expert perspectives on an issue. For an upcoming reading test in an advanced class, students will read this article about the $15 minimum wage controversy. Their purpose for reading this is to understand the two authors’ arguments and choose one to support based on which argument is presented the most persuasively. Their writing assignment requires them to summarize the main arguments by comparing and contrasting them, and then based on the arguments, explain which position they support.

Application – Apply your understanding

These are often my most creative assignments in terms of academic writing. They ask students to take what they have read and learned and apply it to a new situation, often offering suggestions or recommendations. This works especially well for articles that discuss research. For example, intermediate level students just read an article on the different effects of music. Instead of simply answering questions about the article (which we did do for intensive reading practice), students also had to take the research in the books and apply it to our institute. I asked students to suggest how we could use music to improve student experiences. It was made explicit that they needed to use the article to support their suggestion. This require them to read the article with a view on what is practical and could potentially apply to their (student) lives. Here is a writing that I got:

Student Example

I think ELI could use music to improve students experiences. According to the reading passage, music can affect humans in different ways. Also, it can help students when they study and have to relieve stress. If students have problem about memorizing, music can help them. Because music has strong influence on memory. For example, if ELI teachers make songs that relate with English words, students who have hard time to remember English words can memorize that more easily. Also, listening to music is good way for releasing stress and relaxing body. Research in the article The Power of Music shows that lots of doctors utilize music to reduce stress. So it is useful to ELI students who are stressful because of studying or preparing exam. And if we find songs that make us relax and feel better, it will be good for students or teachers too.

 

These are but a few examples of the different ways we can transform generic readings, ones which often have a reading-only focus, into purpose-driven writing assignments that ask students to engage with the text. This approach to reading/writing gives students crucial practice in important skills and makes reading more authentic, and in my opinion, more enjoyable.

References
Leki, I., & Carson, J. (1997). “Completely different worlds”: EAP and the writing experiences of ESL students in university courses. TESOL quarterly,31(1), 39-69.

Great Reading Resources for Students and Teachers

This is just a quick post to share some of the great resources I use in my reading and writing classes. But, these resources are not just for teachers. Students interested in reading more in English, EAP students, and those preparing for TOEFL or IELTS will find the following sites both interesting and very useful!

Newsela

Newsela is perhaps my favorite resource. It offers news stories on a range of issues at 5-levels of difficulty, including the original article. Beyond news, Newsela offers biographies, famous speeches, and primary source documents from American history. Sign-up for an account to give your students access to the articles. There are a lot more LMS-style options for paid accounts, but even the free basic access is great!

JSTOR Daily

JSTOR is a major academic journal publisher and JSTOR Daily is its blog component. They offer engaging, short, research-based posts on really interesting topics. All posts include useful links to related articles and citations! Some of my recent favorites include:

Voices of America (VOA)

VOA is a news service sponsored by the US Government. It is broadcast via radio and TV to countries world-wide, and its website has very interesting content. Most of this content is written in Special English – a simplified English, which means it is highly accessible to most students. They have a very large site with many sections. Some of my favorites include the main news site and these:

Aeon

Aeon has highly engaging essays. These essays are often long explorations into a subject and are great for EAP students and those wishing for a challenge. Here are some recent good ones:

What If? by XKCD

Ever wonder how many tea bags it would take to turn a lake into something that tasted like a regular cup of tea? Ever wondered how many seconds you could survive on the surface of the sun? How about how many humans a t-rex would need to eat to meet its daily caloric intake? What If? explores these and more in very scientific ways! This site is wonderful for many EAP students, especially prospective scientists.

TED

I have written about the ways I use TED Talks on this blog in the past. TED is a great resource for engaging talks on a range of subjects. One of the benefits of the site is that they offer interactive transcripts. You get not only the text but the ability to click on any word and be shown that part of the video. However, you do not need to use the video to use TED. The texts themselves are interesting and make for great reading resources. Furthermore, most TED Talks are translated into multiple languages. For readers, this gives students the ability to read in English and do their own comprehension checking in their language. They can note differences in understanding, vocabulary, and so on.

(thanks to a reader for pointing out my oversight on not including this in the original post!)

 

Adapting Close Reading Questions for the ARC Highlighter Role

The Highlighter role of Academic Reading Circles is language focused. A great deal of research in academic reading and writing has stressed the need for building academic vocabulary (see my previous post for an example of this research). Academic vocabulary is not so easily defined, however. Academic vocabulary differs depending on genre, purpose, audience, and discipline among other factors. Still, there are some commonly used words that apply across most disciplines. Learning these is essential, but a good reader needs to also be able to grasp one-off discipline specific vocabulary. By doing so, it is hoped that they build not only the skills to handle this vocabulary, but actually add it to their own mental lexicon.

The Highlighter role for ARCs does a good job at addressing both types of vocabulary in learner-centered, intensive, and collaborative ways. Students discuss and explore both discipline-specific and academic or general vocabulary, looking at its meaning, usage, and related words. Through discussion, association, and repeated encounters, students are more likely to assimilate, remember, or recall the vocabulary.

However, there is a lot more to vocabulary than a word or phrase’s meaning. It’s usage in context at the sentence- and paragraph-level, its connotation, and the decision to use one word as opposed to another are also important. What’s more, a sentence or group of sentences can affect how a word’s meaning and purpose is understood and interpreted by a reader. While the Highlighter role does stress looking at context and even language usage (“tonal language”), I have found that this focus has either been too vague or too lexically/locally focused. This may not be true for ARC users, but in my experience, unless I am closely monitoring a group, even after much modelling, there still remains a superficial focus for most students.

To address vocabulary and meaning from a difference perspective, I recently experimented with integrating strategies of close reading into the Highlighter role, with great success. I had students keep their focus on topical vocabulary and keywords. However, instead of the “tonal language,” I had students apply close reading questions for specific words, sentences, or passages of the text. These questions were adapted from a close reading guide discussed in a previous post. Each question starts with “Look at ______”, in which line numbers would be written. I asked students to choose three interesting phrases, sentences, quotes, or passages, and apply the questions to them. The questions I adapted are:

  • Quotes or citations: What is their purpose? Are they credible?
  • Language Usage: Look at ______. Why has the author used one word rather than another? How could change the words change the sentence’s meaning?
  • Transitions: Look at ______. What connections do the transitions words or phrases represent?
  • Statements: Look at ______. When you read a particular statement, how does its meaning change? What can you infer from the statement?
  • Background: Look at ______. What are the author’s beliefs or assumptions? How do you know this?
  • Organization: Look at ______. How has the author organized their points?
  • Numerical Data: Why is this data here? Could it be understood differently? Is it believable?

Questions such as these gave students a greater focus on trying to understand how and why language was used – important skills for developing academic reading. I also found that by having students ask these questions, the discussions became a bit more interesting, and involved students really working with the language to try to interpret the author’s meaning. To me, it revealed those who are still struggling with superficial reading based on mental translation or very shallow processing of a passage.

My first few attempts at using these have convinced me that they are worth exploring further. I am wondering what other questions and what other ways would be useful to build a stronger focus on language usage during independent intensive reading and group discussion. In what other ways can the Highlighter role be strengthened?