To practice the comprehension strategy of wondering by asking questions before, during and after reading a biography in a guided reading session.
To imagine you are the subject whose life you have read about and respond to questions as you think he or she would have.
Multiple copies of the biography, notebook paper, copies of the graphic organizer called the interview organizer, chart paper, markers.
1. Distribute copies of the answer organizer, (a graphic organizer with 3 columns with consecutive titles of your questions, character's answer, character's qualities and have students examine its structure before using it.
2. Provide practice for students to ask substantive wh-questions (who, what, where, when, why, how) by modeling a few yourself about a well-known character such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Then elicit examples from the students in the reading group and record them on a large version of the interview organizer displayed on the large chart paper.
3. Proceed to the second column and have the students imagine they are the character (in this case, Dr. King) and ask them to respond to the questions in ways they think he would have answered. Record these in the appropriate column.
4. Examine each response and together have the students come up with character qualities reflective of these responses.
5. After looking at the given biography chosen for the group (at their instructional level), exploring the cover, table of contents, index and a quick review of any illustrations or photographs, ask the students to write down on notebook paper some questions they are wondering about before reading the book. Return to these questions later after finishing the book to see which ones were and were not answered in that text.
6. After reading the book (which may not be completed for a number of days), ask the students to write down 4 or 5 wh-questions that they would like to ask the subject they have read about. They are then to write down what they think the subject would say and finally to infer what character traits such responses exemplify. Encourage a lively discussion.
(I took the idea of the interview organizer from Debbie Deem et. al.'s aforementioned book.)