By far, the most visited place on my blog for the last couple of weeks has been fiction text features and structure. I thought I’d take the lead from my readers and post a mini-series of activities on fiction text structure that I’ve used with several students in tutoring. This is told as if I did all this with one student (to make it easier to read), but actually this is a combination of things I did with several readers-ranging from 2nd through 5th grades.
Here are a few things I observed with my student’s retellings:
- She got caught up in the small details of the story
- She left out important information to the story.
- She would forget the order in which the events took place.
- She had trouble organizing information to create a main idea of the story.
I decided she needed to take a close look at the typical narrative fiction text structure. I thought this would help her organize the information in her head to make retelling easier. She had outgrown the simple story maps of her younger years. I needed something more robust.
So I set out, determined to find the “cure” for her retelling woes. In all the reading textbooks I had lying around the house, I didn’t find much beyond the 1st grade level regarding fiction text structures. I did come across a chapter in Improving Comprehension with Think-Aloud Strategiesby Jeffrey D. Wilhelm. In it, he talks about how reading achievement typically falls off as students get into the upper elementary grades. He speaks directly to narrative texts and says,
“they become more sophisticated…straightforward become less straightforward, with unreliable narrators, implied main ideas and themes, the use of symbolism, flashbacks, and inference gaps….our students become disoriented when they are thrown into reading a new kind of text without assistance.” (pg. 138)
Although my student was only in the 3rd grade, I was already seeing signs of disorientation. I became even more determined to figure this out! I searched online and created a Fiction Text Structure. This is more sophisticated than the simple ones I had used in K and 1st grade. I felt it would work for a more complicated story line…even a chapter book.
To read more posts in this mini-series, click on the links below:
- Part 1: READ and IDENTIFY the Text Structure
- Part 2: READ & SORT/READ & WRITE the Text Structure
- Part 3: READ & RETELL/ READ, WRITE, & RETELL with Text Structure
- Focus on Main Idea: Sorting Small & Big Ideas within a Fiction Text
*This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, you can read my disclosure policy.~Becky
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