Letters From Rifka: Building Deep Understanding

Next week our class will embark on the interactive read aloud, Letters From Rifka by Karen Hesse.  The focus of this read aloud will be to deepen student understanding, discussion and knowledge.

I will focus on Ellin Oliver Keene's work related to the cognitive markers of deep understanding.  I'll begin by introducing students to the markers using a series of mini posters, then I'll provide a guide sheet to lead our daily discussions.

Since my students represent a wide range of reading levels, we'll only read a few pages each day and night.  For those who have trouble accessing the text, I'll provide a means to understanding such as a book on tape or a reader.  This daily dose of a shared book will create community and foster discussion while still leaving time for individual's just right books and targeted reading.

I've created a shared website to guide our work as well.  Photos, maps, and other images that deepen understanding will be added to the website as we read together.  Students will also be asked to add their thoughts and comments to the shared site.  Assignments will be added as well.

As with all units, we will revise and enrich as the book moves along.  I'm excited to put Keene's work into action, particularly since she will be visiting and presenting at our school this week.
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