Stretching Reading Passages into Curriculum
If your district is like my old district, you don't have a reading curriculum. You might not have any curriculum. Just to be clear, Reader's Workshop is not a curriculum. Daily 5 isn't curriculum. These are frameworks that we can use to organize our instruction.
Coming up with all of your own resources can feel overwhelming. Especially as the push to incorporate science and social studies with reading and writing has occurred. But you don't have to start from scratch.
Instead, you can use reading passages (or textbook chapters) to build curriculum. It doesn't take as long as you think.
When planning for your class, you should always start at the end. What do you want your students to know or do at the end of your unit? There may be multiple items, so make a list and be specific.
Once you know what you want your students to know or do, it is time to plan the activities they will do to get there. For example, if I want my students to gather information from pictures, I will want to have activities that require students to look at a picture and record information.
Next, I will need to gather the resources to build these activities. I can use reading passages that I print out from the internet, articles from Scholastic News, or a chapter in a text book. In my example above, I would need to get pictures that my students could study. I would want to make sure that I had pictures that shared a lot of information. I can integrate science or social studies by having a picture related to a topic we are studying.
The last step, which takes the most time, is to actually put the activities into a format that I can use with my students. It might be a printable, a PowerPoint presentation, or a game (if I am really ambitious).
When I am following these steps, I try to hit as may different learning targets with the same original resource. Ideally, my students will use the same reading passage for the entire week. I like to incorporate reading comprehension, writing, and grammar into every week. This saves me time in the long run and it creates common ground for all of my students as they tackle new challenges.
If you like the sound of this process, but don't have time to build these resources on your own, you can pick up my differentiated reading passage sets at my Teachers pay Teachers store. My latest set is all about the pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail. It is appropriate for fourth through sixth-grade classrooms.