Welcome to the third week of Mentor Monday!This week we'll focus on mentor texts for teaching the reading comprehension strategy, making inferences. This is a tough strategy for some kids to grasp. You need just the right picture book to model it, especially for first timers. I made this collage back in the Fall for Pinterest to showcase just a few books that have worked well for me with my students.
Take a look:
Today, I'm going to talk about using The Raft by Jim La Marche for a mentor text. First of all, inferences aside, may I just say how much I LOVE this book? It became a fast favorite for my students too. We always seemed to reference back to it in book discussions.
If you are introducing how to make inferences with your class, this is a great book to start. Nicky is sent to his eccentric Grandmother's house for the summer. Being a total city kid, Nicky does not like the idea of being in the country all summer long. He discovers an old raft and some curious animal drawings on it. As the story unfolds, find out how Nicky develops a love of nature and actually enjoys becoming a "river rat."
The book's illustrations help to support you when you're modeling this strategy quite nicely, so that is a real plus if you're teaching inferences to a group for the first time. I've always used the following inference formula which has been around for a long time, thanks to books like Strategies That Work and Mosaic of Thought:
Picture and text clues + schema (background knowledge) = inference.
On chart paper, I would model how I used this strategy with my own thinking, using three column notes. The first column had my picture or text clues, the second column had my schema, and third column had my inference. The cover illustration and the first few pages contrast quite a bit. Nicky clearly shows he disdain for going to his Grandma's house, but the cover reveals his change later on in the story.
During my think aloud I would say, "Wow, look at the expression on Nicky's face. I notice he's standing behind a tree. I'm inferring he is feeling very unsure about his summer and pretty unhappy about being stuck with his Grandma instead of being back home with his friends in the city." I continue this strategy throughout the whole book jotting down my inferences on chart paper. If you have a digital presenter you can display this book and write down your thoughts on sticky notes too, although I prefer having a large record on chart paper to refer back to easily.
Nicky is also an excellent example of a dynamic character. He makes a wonderful transformation throughout the story, which will hold your students interests for sure.
Be sure to check out The Raft at your local library or to add to your collection. I'd love to hear if you have ever used this picture book with your students, so please comment below. Thank you!!
One more thing...
Check out the February Ebook, filled with goodies from some 17 of your favorite teacher bloggers! I'm on page 13. When you open the link, you'll be able to click on images on each page that will take you to a freebie or the teacher's blog. I'm so impressed with this Ebook and I know you will be too. Enjoy!
Here is a link to the Mentor Monday button I've created.
Please use it at the beginning of your post to make it easily recognizable on all link-ups. Also, please name your post Mentor Monday Linky 2/3/14: Making Inferences. You'll find the link-up at the end of this post. It will stay open until 2/5/14.
I'm so excited to read your posts to learn about some other great picture books. Thank you for visiting my blog today! I'd love for you to follow me on Bloglovin' by clicking the heart on the blue book in the right sidebar. Please come back each week for Mentor Monday! :))