Is anyone else feeling the push to prepare their students to be successful with paired passages and paired texts from state assessments? We are in Georgia for sure! In fact, our state test focuses heavily on constructed responses with paired passages. Yikes! The majority of my students are not strong readers when they come to me. Throw in paired passages, and we have a problem. This post will share some ways that I am scaffolding and differentiating paired passages to support my students, including details for how to get a FREE paired text set that is already differentiated and ready-to-use.
Scaffolding the Texts
Here are some of the ways I scaffold my students as they read and comprehend the paired passages:
- Build any necessary background knowledge that will help them understand the text
- Use shorter, focused texts
- Read the texts aloud
- Have the students partner read the texts
- Discuss the texts in depth while reading the texts, after reading each one, and after reading both
- Use differentiated text levels
The method of scaffolding that I use heavily depends on the text, my students’ needs, and the manner in which we are practicing (whole group vs. small group).
Scaffolding the Paired Passage Questions and Responses
Here is how I scaffold this part of my paired passage instruction:
- Model how to comprehend and analyze a question
- Use think-alouds to help students think through the question
- Provide sentence stems to help them formulate their responses
- Expose my students to a variety of questions (the more practice they have, the more confident and skilled they will be)
Scaffolded and Differentiated Paired Text Freebie!
I use a lot of grade-level paired passages with my students, but I also wanted a specific resource that would easily help me scaffold for my students (by having a lot of the above methods built in). So, I created a resource specifically to introduce, scaffold, and differentiate paired text/passage instruction.
This resource helps my students succeed with paired texts/passages because it scaffolds the students in a way that makes them feel confident and gives them the practice they need to be successful. First, I noticed that the length of paired passages alone was very intimidating for the students. These are students who struggle with stamina with one passage, and now we are giving them two. In response to that, I created short, grade level one-paragraph passages to help ease them into longer passages.
Here is a picture of “one set” of paired paragraphs. You can see the two short paragraphs. After each paragraph, I have included a section for the students to pause and summarize before moving on. This is important because it helps my students self monitor their own comprehension.
(Each set of paired texts is available in two different reading levels for further differentiation)
Now, that the length of the passages was tackled, I needed to find a way to scaffold the constructed response tasks. Some of my students still struggle fully answering and supporting constructed response questions with only passage, so I needed something that would really help scaffold this skill. With that in mind, I created three different “levels” of response.
Here is a picture of Level 1. Level one contains a Think-Aloud Prompts and Sentence Stems to support the students as they think through and answer the questions. These scaffolds helps my students understand what the question is asking them (through the think-aloud) and how to formulate a complete response with evidence (through the sentence stems).
Here are the other two levels that I also created to meet the needs of all my readers. Level 2 contains only the Think-Aloud Prompts (same as level 1) and Level 3 contains no support. I use these response sheets to even further differentiate paired passages in my classroom. Some students need full support (lowest reading level and level 1 response tasks) and some only need support with the responses but can handle a higher level of text.
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Does this sound like something that your students could benefit from? If so, put your details in the form below to get the paired text set shown on this post for FREE (it will be sent straight to your inbox). Spoiler Alert: The day after you sign up, you will get another free resource for paired texts sent to your inbox!
FREE Paired Text Set
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I would love to hear how you are supporting your readers with this complex skill! Let me know in the comments.