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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

You'll love 'First Lines'

February 26, 2009

Behind the scenes here at Reading Rockets we're hard at work on a new Classroom Strategies section.

It's going to be a terrific addition to the resources we already offer. We're pulling together recommendations from our experts at LDOnline as well as from our children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, who writes our Page by Page blog.

One strategy, called First Lines, is one that is typically used with older students. It's a quick prereading activity in which the teacher reads to the class (or the students read) the first line only of something new they're about to read. Based on that first line, students make predictions about the story.

Teachers can encourage students to think: What might the story be about? What do the specific words in that sentence tell us about the setting? The main character? A problem that a character might be having?

It's a short simple technique to pique children's interest in something they're about to read and to tap into their prior knowledge. It also sets a purpose for reading because the students will be eager to find out if their predictions were correct!

Maria has recommended several children's books that pair well with First Lines. I loved her suggestions and thought I'd share them with you!

Beezus and Ramona
Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
"Beatrice Quimby's biggest problem was her little sister Ramona."

Stink the Incredible Shrinking Kid
Stink the Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan MacDonald
"Shrimp-o! Runtsville! Shorty Pants! Stink was short. Short, shorter, shortest. Stink was an inchworm. Short as a… stinkbug!"

Where the Wild Things Are
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
"The night Max wore his wolf suit of one kind an another, his mother called him 'Wild Thing'…"

Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest Shepard
"Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin."

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