Break story into easy pieces

Reading Workshop

June 09, 1999|By Susan Rapp | Susan Rapp,Village Reading CenteR

A strong link exists between oral language and reading comprehension. By discussing a story they've read or heard, children can measure their understanding against the perceptions of others. One way to assist your child in learning the important elements of a story is to use a chart on paper, often referred to as a "graphic organizer." The goal of such an organizer is not the form itself, but the thinking and conversation it generates.

An example of a graphic organizer is "Critical Squares." To make it, divide an 8-inch by 11-inch blank paper in half and then fold it in thirds to make six rectangular boxes.

Write each of the questions listed here in each box from left-to-right, top-to-bottom. After reading "Painting the Wind," tell your child that you will be her secretary and write down what she says. Write her responses in the boxes below each question. Note: the replies in parentheses are only suggested responses. Next, let her use the page to help retell the story.

* WHO is the story about? (Vincent and Claudine)

* WHERE did the story take place? (At Vincent's Yellow House in Arles, France)

* WHEN did the story take place? (winter)

* WHAT were the most important things that happened? (Vincent cut off his earlobe; the neighbors gathered to drive him out; he gave Claudine a painting of sunflowers)

* WHY did the problem arise? (Because Vincent became violent and acted strange)

* HOW was the problem solved? (The neighbors signed a petition; Claudine stands up for what she believes)

For additional fun, prepare a table with a "microphone" and let your child pretend to be a newscaster retelling the story of Vincent van Gogh by describing the scene in front of the Yellow House.

Help her use the "Critical Squares" you did together to recall the events.

Pub Date: 06/09/99

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