For many student, especially English Language Learners, it can be very valuable to review a text multiple times – especially in content classes.
It can’t just be re-reading it, though, time and time again.
Each “touch” on the text needs to be for a different reason and, ideally, done in a different way.
Of course, this is also the idea behind “close reading” (see The Best Resources On “Close Reading” — Help Me Find More).
Here’s sequence I often use in my ELL History and Government/Economics classes to promote this idea of “multiple touches” (by the way, I first heard this phrase by Kelly Young, who was a talented literacy coach who worked with our school and others) on the same text.
- A peer tutor, or a more English-proficient student, reads the first page of one of our textbook chapters to a small group. He/she then will read sentences from that page as students will write them on mini-whiteboards without looking at the book, and the reader will check each one. Students will then write a summary of that page.
- Students in the group will then take turns reading paragraphs aloud in the rest of the chapter, and the group will work together to write summaries of each page. Generally, students will take turns reading a couple of sentences from each page for others to copy on their whiteboards.
- We’ll then play a game where I ask questions about the content of the chapter, and each group writes the answer on a whiteboard.
- Students next write several multiple choice questions from the chapter and, from there, I choose the ones to use on a test.
- Students take the test. We’ve spent a fair amount of time discussing the importance of retrieval practice (see The Best Resources For Learning About Retrieval Practice), so students know to first try answering the questions without looking at the book, and then they can double-check their answers by lookin in the book (with no penalty).
So, as you can see, students have to make multiple touches on the same text, but for many different reasons – first reading, copying down on whiteboards, game, coming up with test questions, and answering them.
What are your suggestions for other ways to encourage these kinds of multiple touches?