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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Reading Comprehension Strategy: Synthesize

One of the toughest reading comprehension strategies for my students is synthesizing information.  In my quest to find good resources for this strategy, I came across the following:

Finding mentor texts for synthesis is tough!  The plot needs to have some kind of twist or change that isn't at all apparent in the beginning.  Here are a couple that work well.

The point of view changes from the Native Americans to Columbus throughout the book.  The illustrations reflect these changes.  For example, the Native American boy sees Columbus's ships as sea monsters and Columbus sees the Native Americans as Indians.

This one is great.  First, because I love Patricia Polacco.  Secondly, you really have to use all the text and picture clues to understand and synthesize all the information.  Through most of the book, you think it's about the girl and her best friend, who is an elephant.  On the very last page, you find out that it's an elephant family and the girl is her best friend. 

Now, I know we are big, bad Fourth Graders, but we still need some cutesy representations of things like synthesis to make them understandable.  For example, I found this unit by Nancy Vandenberge that relates synthesis to baking a cake.  I love this organizer that she made!

You should check out her entire post by clicking here.

Do you have any go-to resources for synthesizing information?  I would love to see them!


Bethany Hunter said...

I love teaching synthesis...a few of my favorite books are The Stranger, Charlie Anderson, and The Wednesday Surprise.

Heather said...

Thanks, Bethany! I love Charlie Anderson, but I've never thought of using it for synthesis. I need to check out the others, too.

Nena Wilt said...

Hoping to use this strategy with some of my middle school struggling readers after Thanksgiving!

Ms. Chrissy B said...

Encounter is excellent, as is anything by Eve Bunting!

Heather said...

Nena: I think it's a useful strategy no matter what grade. Let me know how it goes :)

Chrissy: I, too, love Eve Bunting. Any particular titles you use with this strategy?