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Friday, June 7, 2013

Reading Strategy File Folder

Today's post is just a quick little explanation of one of my favorite activities from the amazing Debbie Miller. Is anyone else out there completely in awe of the wonderful Debbie Miller? I had the privilege of seeing her speak at a conference my first year teaching and loved every minute of her session. We studied her book Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades in great detail in my college classes.

I really love how she gradually fosters independence in her students with the key reading strategies. My post today focuses on an idea found in her second book Teaching with Intention. The activity is very simple, but my students loved it!

The first thing you need is some file folders. (I thought purple added a little flair!) Using a permanent marker, I divided the file folder into four sections: 

              1. What we think we know
              2. New Learning
              3. Questions
              4. Misconceptions

After I finished labeling the different sections, I laminated all of the file folders, for durability. In her activity, Debbie Miller used full sized post-its, but I found that the mini post-its worked better for my students. 

This activity works well for most nonfiction texts. To begin, I have my students record what they think they know on post-its. We label it as what we think we know because sometimes students have misconceptions about a topic. If we find this to be the case, we simply move the post-it to the misconception section later on. 

Then, students write questions they have about the topic. We also pause throughout the reading to add more questions. When we are pausing, we also add information to the new learning section. As we go along, we move any post-its that turned out to be misconceptions. (Sorry for the glare!)

I found that this activity really got my students to focus on their own thinking during their reading. They also were really excited to use file folders and post-its. It's the simple things right? Some of my favorite texts to use for this activity are articles from Ranger Rick  magazine. 

Thanks for another hit Debbie Miller! Is anyone else out there a huge Debbie Miller fan? If not, who do you admire?


  1. I love this idea, it is a great way for kids to see how their thinking changes over time. Thanks for sharing. I will need to try this next year!

  2. That's a neat graphic organizer...everyone can be a part of it. I can see making one big one with a space to change out the title for the book you're reading. Ideas, ideas, ideas!!


  3. What a super great idea! This is something that would be so handy to have on stand-by for those days when you just need something because you can't get anything together! I can see so much potential in this. I've already pinned and I'm regretting leaving that giant box of file folders in my classroom today as I left for the summer!
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  4. This looks great! I love Debbie Miller as well! It's so hard, sometimes, to get students to really THINK while they are reading, especially with nonfiction. This is a great strategy to use! I love that they each got one! I also love Stephanie Harvey!

    Collaboration Cuties

  5. Great ideas! I love your posts on Close Reading!

    24/7 Teacher Amy Harrod

  6. I incorporating D D's ideas into my library classes. Finishing reading her book for k-2 centers and going to read the one for 3-6 next. I'm so excited for the fall. I'm sharing her books with the other librarians at our district meeting next week. Maybe I'll pick up a couple for fans for the We love Debbie club!

  7. Bethany shared her pin of your reading folder on Jivey's linky, which brought me here! Awesome! I have struggling readings so I can see this really working.


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