Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Strategy: Book Tour

A few months ago, I wrote about a presentation I gave to a class full of teachers in the Twin Cities area. They were mostly Math and Science teachers who were hoping to learn how to include literacy strategies in their classrooms. I invited them to share what they learned with Literacy Log, and got one great response. I highly recommend a look at Emily Kjesbo-Johnson's literacy strategies site for Math teachers. Today, I'll talk about just one of the strategies she includes.

Book Tour
10-30 minutes.
Any age level.

I have seen variations of this strategy before, but Emily describes it very well here. She includes a downloadable version of the handout she used.

The Book Tour is meant to introduce students to a textbook or any other new reading material. According to Emily, "it can be a worksheet that groups work on together, or a tour of the book's features led by the teacher."

Be sure to compel your students to find the most important sections of the book. For a textbook, this would include the Table of Contents, Chapter Review section, the Index, and nowadays a website.

Think of this as part of an extended version of the KWL strategy. The Book Tour will help your students assess what they know and what they want to know about the subject matter covered in the book. It will also make the book much less intimidating.

Just before the school year began, Emily wrote about why she would start the year off with a Book Tour. "Our math textbooks are loaded with many helpful resources," she wrote, "but students are often so intimidated by the book that they never look past the practice problems."

Recently, I asked Emily how it went, and she was pleased with the results. "I think that as students went through it, they saw how the book wasn't just an intimidating giant book, but could be a valuable resource for their work during the year," she said.

The Alphabet Words game I featured yesterday could be used as a component of a Book Tour. It might be especially useful for introducing students to the Index or Glossary.

Photo: "Middle School Textbooks" by Flickr user "herzogbr." Thanks!

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