“Post Its” as reading organization strategy

This post is how classroom teachers, parents and older students can effectively use Post It Notes. My point is that while there are a lot of computer and telephone Apps to help with reading comprehension and writing planning, some of the old fashioned techniques still work the best. In fact, I would put “Post Its” as the star.

Why? Because there are so many different shapes and sizes and they can be easily moved around. In fact, it is the ability to stick and change the order of the Post Its that is key. Individuals with learning difficulties, for example, no matter what their age, often have difficulty with sequencing. Here I am going to refer to the 3×3 and 4×6 sizes.

(1) Post Its for Teacher Instructions:

In a whole classroom context, when teachers are dictating lesson instructions orally, printing them on a chalk or white board or typing onto their e-blackboard, they could ask their students to write each instruction on a separate Post It. If the size used is 4×6, there is still room for the students to write what they have to do related to that specific instruction. Or, if the smaller, more flexible 3×3 size is used, the students can easily add a second or third Post It because they will stick together.

(2) Post Its for Reading Comprehension:

  • Because most students in the primary grades are still learning to say and identify words, I am going to assume that the students I am recommending use Post Its to recall what they just heard or read are at least in Grade 4. Whether the teacher is reading the information or the student is reading silently to himself, the student needs some way of remembering the important words and phrases.
  • When I was in private practice, I usually recommended at least two readings because some children, when they stopped to write down words, would forget everything they just read. However, if only once through is possible, tell the students to just write down words that interest them. In that way, they are not yet trying to remember the main idea and you don’t interfere with processing the information.
  • The point is to have the students write words or phrases that interest them on Post Its, not worrying what they mean or how they are spelled at that point. The reason is not to dismiss the importance of grammar or spelling but not to interrupt their thought about what they are reading. A lot of people don’t understand that not everyone can think on two tracks at the same time. Once the story/article is finished, spelling corrections and clarifications can be added.

(3) Post Its as Organizer: Once the reading is finished, and corrections and clarifications completed, ask the students to put all the Post Its in a folder in their correct order for the next day. Then, by the time the story is finished, the students should be able to tell you the story in the order of the each Post It.

Crux of the Matter:

As a learning specialist, I can tell you that the repetition of the word or phrase, combined with trying to figure out the meaning, will help the students remember the story. Older students in high school and beyond can also use the Post Its as a guide to writing a report or essay.

More, in the next post, about how older students can use Post Its to research, plan and write an essay.

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