Teaching Tips

Reading strategy: Say something reboot

A few weeks ago, I was training my mentors, and I gave them a scholarly article to read about mentoring competencies and programs.  The article had a lot of dense information and needed to be read carefully, so I decided to teach them the “Say Something” strategy.  A strategy they could teach and use with their mentees. I first learned about this strategy in October 2017. To read the original blog post about the strategy, click here.

A quick recap of the strategy is as follows:

  • Group the students in pairs
  • Have the students take turns reading aloud to one another (They can determine the length of the reading (paragraph, column, page, etc.).  More advanced readers are not going to stop as frequently, but they should make sure to stop.)
  • Person A reads. At a predetermined stopping point, the person who was not reading (Person B) says “Say Something,” and Person A should do one of the following:
    • Make a prediction
    • Ask a question
    • Clarify something you had misunderstood
    • Make a comment
    • Make a connection
  • Then the partners switch roles, and Person B reads, and Person A listens and says “Say Something.”  Person B responds in using the same options as above.
  • Repeat until the time runs out or the article/page is completed.

So I put my mentors in pairs and told them to read the article applying the strategy.  Afterwards we came together to debrief the strategy. The mentors recognized that the strategy is a great way to encourage (or coerce) readers to stop and think about the text.  By stopping, the reader is given the opportunity to process the concepts and ideas mentioned in the text. In addition, by stopping and thinking about the reading, students are seeing and recognizing was that their minds should and are working while reading.  This reading strategy reinforces and encourages best practices for critical thinking while reading,

As we continued to debrief, the mentors thought this strategy could be adapted so that readers could annotate their text by writing in the margins instead of Saying Something aloud.  What a great way to turn this into an independent reading (and writing) strategy!

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