We just wrapped up a two week unit on exactly what it means when the teacher says, "You have to read nonfiction differently." Kiddos at my school have HEARD that phrase before, but many could not really explain exactly what that meant. So on Friday, as an assessment, I had them write out answers to these three essential questions which we had discussed in detail throughout the two weeks. (We also made and reviewed "anchor charts" on the SmartBoard.)
1. How can you tell if a book is nonfiction?
2. What does it mean to read nonfiction "differently"?
3. What are some of the features that authors give you to help you understand nonfiction?
THEN, and here's the best part, I gave them each a few photo copied pages out of a nonfiction book (just about one year below grade level reading so text difficulty was not an issue) and they HIGHLIGHTED (sorry that highlight didn't show up so well on the scan) all of those features that the author threw in to help them understand the story. Then they wrote one to three sentences on each page that showed that they were being ACTIVE readers as they read and highlighted.
I had done this twice before. Once at the very beginning as a whole class--we made LONG scrolls out of the photocopied pages (see last blog post
) and once in small groups with three different texts selected to meet the needs of each group.
So, long story short. This actual READING assessment feels much more authentic to me than any "bubble test" or any "answer these questions" test. I got to see exactly what each kiddo noticed in their highlights and a small GLIMPSE of what they were THINKING in their sentences.
All said and done, this kind of assessment took more time for me to grade than a bubble test, but I REALLY have a good handle on which kids totally get nonfiction reading, which kids have a pretty good grasp of it, and which kids are going to need some reteaching.
Now I just need to develop a rubric for more objective scoring! :-)