Reading Salad: A Hands-On Reading Demonstration

This is an amazing reading lesson that helps our students learn to think while they are reading. It makes the entire process visual as well.

To teach this lesson, you will need three bowls. Have a large empty salad bowl and label it “Real Reading Salad,” and then two smaller bowls labelled “Thinking” and “Text.”

Fill the “Text” bowl with red cards and the “Thinking” bowl with green cards.

Reading Salad

Start out by addressing the class,

“Kids are very good at pretending. Let’s pretend together that you are the teacher and I am the student. All of you teachers are going to listen as I read. Put on your teacher faces. . . Judging from your faces, you’ve noticed that teachers are very serious about reading. Ok teachers, concentrate now and listen as I read. I’m going to ask you to evaluate me as a reader.

I got this book from a publisher who wanted me to review it on my blog. It is a long book with no pictures and has some difficult words. It is a challenging text, but I’ll do my best as I read the first paragraph for you. Read it with good expression and at an appropriate rate. Ask the “teachers” to turn and talk about my reading. “You’ll give me my report card in a few moments.”

Then explain how back when you were in grade 3 that you could read quite well. But that you sometimes faked the teacher out. Tell them that you weren’t thinking. That you were just reading like a robot. It sounded good but thinking was missing.

“You can’t always tell just from listening to someone read. Do you know what I’m talking about? Have you ever done any robot or fake reading? Turn and talk.”

“Sometimes I read the words but I don’t know what I just read. This happens to me still at night before bed if I am really tired.

I just modeled fake reading, now I want to model real reading. Real reading is like a tossed salad. Have you noticed the three bowls sitting here? We are going to use these object to help us understand more about real reading. Notice the bowls are labeled. The large bowl is labeled “real reading salad” and the small bowls are “text” and “thinking” Just like a salad might be a mixture of lettuce and tomatoes, reading salad is a mixture of text and thinking. In the text bowl, there are red cards that say “text,” they are like the tomatoes. In the thinking bowl there are green cards that say “thinking,” they are like the lettuce. With your help, we will make reading salad while enjoying a great book.

To show you real reading, I am going to do something that might look a bit funny. I will point to the text when I am reading it and point to my head when I am thinking. That way you can see the difference. At the same time, we will be making salad.

Dont laugh at me

Pick two students to help. Point to the text and read the title, “Don’t Look at Me.” – text helper drops a card in the large bowl. Point to your head, “I am thinking this book is going to be about kids who make fun of other kids. I hate when that happens.” – thinking helper drops a card in the large bowl. Keep going this way as you read the picture book.

Read the book a second time but this time, stop as ask the students what they are thinking periodically and make a new salad. This time we will probably notice more green than red cars. That is how it supposed to be. There should be more thinking than text. Now we have been doing some real reading and we have been thinking about our thinking. There’s a name for that “metacognition” – add it to the word wall

Reading Salad final

Isn’t that a great visual to teach thinking while reading?

If you loved that, you should read Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading by Tanny McGreggor. It is an amazing book and a must have for anyone who teaches reading.

Comprehension Connections

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