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Katie Menges

SLM 503
9 July 2015

Reading Instructional Strategy: Creating Meaning from Text 3rd Grade Synthesis

According to AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner in Action, Disposition 4.2.3 states that
students should maintain openness to new ideas by considering divergent opinions, changing opinions or
conclusions when evidence supports the change, and seeking information about new ideas encountered
through academic or personal experiences. Skill 3.1.2 is to Participate and collaborate as members of a
social and intellectual network of learners. The first 2nd grade benchmark is to participate in discussions
and listen well; the second 5th grade benchmark is to participate in discussions on fiction and nonfiction
related to the curriculum. The attached worksheet will facilitate student discussion and synthesis of new
ideas while fostering open-mindedness. Encouraging students to discuss how their ideas have changed
as a consequence of reading will help students to feel comfortable with openly changing their opinions
based on evidence. Recording new questions while reading will encourage students to seek additional
information after reading, and give a written record for further inquiry.

This reading strategy to encourage synthesis comes from a worksheet that I have seen used in my
school. This worksheet does not have any known author, and is recreated on the next page. This chart is
wonderful for full-class or small group discussions because it encourages students to track their thought
processes personally before being asked to verbalize their experience. To best utilize this handout, the
classroom teacher and librarian would both use this tool when students are reading for information. This
worksheet includes five sections: Think I know, Confirmed, Disproven, Learned, and Wonder. This
involves great deal more in-depth thinking than a standard Know-Wonder-Learn chart, and includes
scaffolding for authentic student synthesis. By providing three columns for synthesis (since learning,
changing, and confirming ideas), students are able to quickly and easily jot notes as they read to
remember how they synthesized the new information. By starting out with a Think I know column,
most of what is recorded will directly relate to an existent idea: this contextualizes the text and increases
the amount of meaning that students are able to access.

Although students should not necessarily be required to fill out each section of the worksheet, ideally the
only empty column should be either Confirmed or Disproven. This is because any fact that a student
enters the class thinking that they know will very likely either be confirmed or disproven. If by some
chance this is not the case, then the student should have learned something new about the subject. At the
end of the exercise, students should discuss their initial thoughts, findings, and new questions with a
partner or a group.

The most important aspect of this strategy is explaining to students that by the time we finish talking
through this worksheet, they've each already synthesized information from the text. Talking about how
our thinking changes and evolves while reading is immensely important: becoming familiar with not
only synthesis but also metacognition will really help students as they progress academically. After
students become comfortable with using the five-column reading chart, the class teacher and school
librarian could choose to transition to a TkWL chart, which stands for Think you know, Wonder, and
Learn. Once students have the habit of considering how their thinking changes, it will become
increasingly easy for them to think about their thinking and discuss how ideas from their readings affect
them personally.
3rd Grade Synthesis Worksheet
Name: ______________________

Date: ______________________

Book One: ______________________

Book Two: ______________________

Think I know Confirmed Disproven Learned Wonder