Enthusiastic Comment about Mike Harrison’s “Reverse Reading Comprehension” Post

I  had my first chance to try Mike Harrison’s Reverse Reading Comprehension Strategy today, with “a twist” and it was a big hit!

The first period of the day gave me the perfect opportunity to try it. Three students were taking a test, three were absent and the remaining two are pretty much on the same level,  comparitively strong pupils. So I called them to the board. Each one of them got a whiteboard marker.

Part one

Instead of writing five or six questions I wrote one question on the corner of the board : Why did Branco dive to the bottom of the lake? After we went over the question (they didn’t know “lake” or “bottom”) they wanted to know who this Branco person was and how should THEY know why he did it. I replied that it was up to them to decide and to please answer the question. So they wrote (and then we corrected) the sentence “Branco wanted to study the fish“. I responded to that with question number two: What was he surprised to find at the bottom of the lake? Then they began to get interested. They had Branco find a treasure chest, take it home, discuss it with his wife and spend the money on a new house and car. They wrote five sentences, each one numbered as an answer to a question.

Part Two

I erased words from the sentences, a fairly large amount and they split the work of filling them back in. Since these are fairly strong students and they just wrote the text themselves this was easy for them. I left this stage after one “erasing exercise”.

Part Three

I asked the students to turn these sentences into a news report. I told them we don’t have to write everything again, only certain things need to be changed. We looked at every sentece. The first answer now became the opening sentence ” A man named Branco dove into a lake in Italy” and so on. The rewriting took us to the bell.

Later on in the day I repeated the activity with two weaker students (going for a lower level of the national exams but nonetheless still strong enough to TAKE the national exams!). They also came up with a treasure test and had the pirates come and rob the treasure back from Branco. They had to work much harder to create each sentence and needed more corrections so our second stage was erasing words till the bell rang. Rewritng was not suitable here and they REALLY enjoyed the activity as it was!

I also tried the activity with one 12th grade students who reads FAR FAR better than he writes. He always forgets articles andmixes up tenses. However, this activity is a more socially oriented one and giving it to him  alone was a mistake. He wrote that Branco found shoes in the lake and then he threw them back into the lake. I’m sure that if he had had a partner he would have come up with a more interesting idea and then it would have been more fun. Even the policeman I ” sent” to the lake just said “you shouldn’t do that”!

I really feel that my students are benefitting from my PLN!

9 thoughts on “Enthusiastic Comment about Mike Harrison’s “Reverse Reading Comprehension” Post”

  1. Great stuff, Naomi!

    I love the organic way that your questions, the story and the students’ answers unfold here at the board, a great way to involve everyone and get them focused. I think that probably works best if you have fewer students (2-3 I think is ideal), with my group there were about 10, so the whole class dictation aspect was more appropriate for me. I’ll keep your adap in mind should I ever have a smaller group!

    Thanks for posting

    Mike =)

  2. What a great adaptation Naomi! You were much more imaginative than I was… I slightly tweaked Mike’s original questions and changed the character… so much more potential in what you’ve done here… you’ve got me thinking again!

    Thanks for sharing :-))

  3. Brad!
    if you had been in the class we would have written the story about our exciting visitor!
    I believe one of the things that make a strategy great is that you can use it in so many different ways and for so many different levels. I certainly plan on trying it in several more ways!
    I have to go and see now what the Magpie has been doing now – always thought provoking!

  4. one of the things that make a strategy great is that you can use it in so many different ways and for so many different levels Very true … also planning to try again! 🙂

    Thanks Naomi always a pleasure to hear your perspective on things too! ;-p

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