Co-Curricular Collaboration Through Literacy

STEP 1: With a small group, select a grade level to explore. You will find a task to analyze and questions to consider as you work together.


1st grade Unit 1, Topic 2_ Task 1.pdf

Leaders in My Family and My Community


4th grade Unit 1, Topic 3_ Task 1.pdf

America as a Story of Identity


Gr 5 Unit 3, Topic 1_ Task 1.pdf

Alliances, Relationships and Conflicts


6th grade Unit 3, Topic 1, Task 1_ Water (final).pdf

Social, Political, Economic and Cultural Influences on Water


Gr 7 Unit 2 Entry Level Task ELA.pdf

The Decisions You Make


Gr.8 Unit 1 Topic 1_ Task 2.pdf

The American Dream

STEP 2: The larger learning goal is to understand two critical themes: Culture and Identity, and Change and Consequence. Which one seems most connected to your task? Now that you know this, How does the new information (learning goal) shift and affect what I am doing?

Two overarching themes spanning grades K-12 in Humanities (Reading/Language Arts and Social Studies).

1. Change and Consequence: Who Am I? How does the past connect to me and my future? Exploration of self, community, society and the world helps us to understand why change is a constant in our history, our economy, our community and geography. Our decisions and actions affect change, and those changes have consequences for individuals and the societies and cultures in which they live. How do my decisions and actions - and the decisions and actions of others - affect me, where I live, and how I live?

2. Culture and Identity: The exploration of literature continually asks the question "Who am I?" Who am I in my family, my community, my culture, my society, my government, my beliefs and values? Culture - the development and destruction of - has played a role in understanding ourselves and others who inhabit the world. How has understanding of other cultures - or lack thereof - influenced national and world economies, policies, politics and how history is recorded, communicated and documented?

Sub-themes Explored in Reading/Language Arts:

1. Who Am I? Literature long answers this question for us as we grow and explore ourselves in different contexts with different people. When exploring our past and our present, the question of “Who Am I?” emerges as we seek to fit in and find our place in the world.

2. We Are All Connected: Literature helps us to see the connections we have to our world, our environment and each other. Everyone on the planet shares common experiences: birth, death, loss of innocence. These experiences help to create the culture and the context in which we live. How we are different - and the same - provides us with a foundation upon which we can build our understanding of the world. As Roald Dahl wrote: “So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”

3. The Past Influences the Present and the Future: Writer George Orwell said, "Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." Who tells the stories of our world, our nation, our culture? How do some stories become “our” stories and others fall away? How can stories of our past give us clues about our future? Why do we write and read fiction, and what can fiction teach us?

STEP 3: What are your answers to these questions?

When a unit is underway, a librarian can be relegated to the role of curation. But what is the teacher's real goal for students?

What are the roles that a librarian plays coming to this task? The teacher says to you, "This is what the kids are doing." What do you see as a role you can play?

What do you see as the big goal - beyond water, identity or the American Dream? Check out the themes above. How do they factor into the learning? The teaching? Your role as librarian?

If the task seems to difficult for a first grader, or the reading seems above the level of fourth grade, how will you underline or support that goal? (See Reading Strategies below)

What will enhance our ability to co-curricularly create with teachers and students?


Activate Prior Knowledge: Engagement

Giving students access to the knowledge and experiences they already have will assist them in making meaning of text. Each child brings a unique set of experiences and knowledge with them to a text, and they use this schema to construct our own understandings of a text.

Serravallo Strategies:

2.7: Prime Yourself With Prior Knowledge (54)

2.12: Ask Questions to Engage With the Text (59)

5.26: Historical Notes Prime Prior Knowledge (159)

1.1: Be an Explorer Who Finds Treasures in Books (24)

5.1: Lean on the Pictures (134)

10.11: Glossary Warm-Up (284)

9.3: A Spin on KWL (252)

2. Decide What’s Important in a Text

Good readers can use their prior knowledge and set a purpose for reading in order to locate the key points, essential details and main ideas.

Serravallo Strategies:

5.1: Lean on the Pictures (134)

5.2: Title Power (135)

5.4 Uh-oh … Phew! (137)

5.6 Reactions Help You Find the Problem (139)

9.13: Important vs. Interesting (262)

7.19 Symbols Repeat (212)

3. Synthesize Information

Good readers are synthesizing and summarizing information as they read. They can select and organize key points and ideas, categorizing them and filtering out irrelevant data and repeated information. They can create topics and categories when none exist.

Serravallo Strategies:

5.3 Summarizing What’s Essential (136)

1.2 The WHOLE and Teeny-Tiny Details (25)

1.19 Connect the Pages (42)

6.8 Look for a Pattern (173)

5.11 Retell What’s Most Important by Making Connections to the Problem(144)

5.6 Reactions Help You Find the Problem (139)

8.4 Ask Questions, Form Ideas(225)

4. Draw Inferences During and After Reading

When you “read between the lines,” you are making determinations about a character’s motives and personality, discovering themes and identifying main points and ideas. Making inferences means making meaning, whether or not you have attained fluency or proficiency as a reader.

Serravallo Strategies:

6.1 How’s the Character Feeling? (166)

7.7 Mistakes Can Lead to Lessons (200)

6.19 More than One Side (184)

7.13 From Seed to Theme (206)

1.15 Readers Explain Their Thinking (38)

6.8 Look for a Pattern (173)

5. Self-Monitor Comprehension

Good readers know when their understanding of a text breaks down and can locate confusing passages and unfamiliar vocabulary. When readers skip over sections of a text or words they don’t know, they are missing key elements that would help them make sense of the text.

Serravallo Strategies:

2.21 You’ve Got to “Get It” to be Engaged (68)

9.4 Check Yourself (253)

2.4 Keep Your Eyes and Mind in the Book (51)

2.5 Retell and Jump Back In (52)

1.16 What I See/What I Think (39)

6. Repair Faulty Comprehension

When good readers get confused, stuck or lost, they have a bank of strategies they can access and use to fix their vocabulary and comprehension. They can use these strategies independently to continue reading and comprehending a text.

Serravallo Strategies:

2.16 Fixing the Fuzziness (53)

1.9 Back Up, Revise (32)

1.14 If You Don’t Know, Guess (37)

5.15 Where Am I? (148)

6.3 Put on the Character’s Face(168)

9.10 Scan and Plan (259)

9.15 Using Analogies(264)

7. Ask Questions

Good readers ask questions before, during and after reading. It helps readers to sort through what they already know and what they want to know more about. Posing questions can set the purpose for reading and engage them in the text while the read to satisfy their own curiosity. Prediction is also a form of questioning as students try to anticipate what will happen next. Asking questions also helps readers to link information and construct meaning as they apply what they know to new and unfamiliar situations.

Serravallo Strategies:

2.12 Ask Questions to Engage with the Text (59)

12.17 Challenge Questions (344)

7.17 Readers Ask Themselves Questions(210)

10.2 Cover Up Then Zoom In(275)

9.18 Answering Questions(267)

9.6 Consistently Ask “How Do I Know?” (255)

5.24 FQR (157)

Ask Questions, Form Ideas(225)

8. Build Vocabulary

Word study before, during and after reading can improve a reader’s comprehension. Students need access to content-specific and academic vocabulary, and strategies that assist them in determining the meaning of words by making connections to what they already know can provide a more seamless, rich reading experience.

Serravallo Strategies: (pg 299)

11.3 Insert a Synonym (302)

11.14 Know the Word, Use the Word (313)

11.8 Word Part Clues - Prefixes and Suffixes (307)

11.18 Help from Cognates (317)

11.17 Word Relationships in a Phrase (316)

11.10 Use Part of Speech as a Clue (309)

11.11 Infer to Figure It Out (310)

9. Develop Fluency

Readers who read in chunks, struggle with phrasing and tackle text word-by-word have difficulty making meaning. Lack of fluency makes recall difficult and comprehension a puzzle that may not always be put together. Strategies to develop fluency in older readers can include working in a quiet, safe space where they can listen to themselves or others read, participate in Readers Theater and work with peers.

Serravallo Strategies: (pg 107)

4.3 Use a “This is Interesting” Voice (110)

4.5 Say Goodbye to Robot Reading(112)

4.14 Get Your Eyes Ahead of the Words(121)

4.18 Partners Can Be Fluency Teachers(125)

4.11 Make Your Voice Match the Feeling(118)

3.22 Unpacking What it Means to “Sound Right” (101)

3.5 Be a Coach to Your Partner(84)

4.21 Read It How the Author Tells You(Tags) (128)