ReadWorks

Energy

Passage

http://www.readworks.org/sites/default/files/aad/512757be-e40e-496b-a18a-4e49967bc347_0.pdf

Grade: 5th-8th
Lexile Level: 850L-1160L
Domain: Civics & Government, Physical Science, Technology & Engineering, Earth & Space Science

How to Do Article-A-Day

ReadWorks Article-A-DayTM: Teaching Tips
Grades K-8

ReadWorks Article-A-DayTM is a high-impact, 10-15 minute daily routine where students choose and read one high-quality nonfiction article every day, as part of a weekly, topically-related article set. In K-1st grades the teacher reads the article out loud to the students.

You only need about 10-15 minutes each day to do Article-A-Day, as part of your students’ daily routine. And it is worth it!

  • Try doing Article-A-Day first thing each morning, or before/after a transition to lunch or a special. Students will know that this is their daily routine, and will be able to get into it right away.
    • Please be patient at the beginning, as it might take a couple of weeks for your students to get fully into the routine.

4 simple steps for doing Article-A-Day with your students


Step 1: Set a purpose for reading


  • Please do this every day for at least the first few weeks, then just remind students every few days as the year goes on.
  • Let your students know that knowledge is stored in these articles. Words are where human beings store knowledge. So by reading these articles they are learning new and valuable knowledge.
  • You can also let them know that just by reading these articles they are building their own personal vocabularies, and everyday they are becoming stronger independent readers with more stamina.

Step 2: Have your students read the article independently

For K-1, or where developmentally appropriate, the teacher should read the article out loud twice to the students.

Step 3: “The Book of Knowledge”


  • A book of knowledge can be pieces of paper or a composition book
  • Have your students write down, or draw a picture of, two or three things they learned from reading and would like to remember in their own “Book of Knowledge.”
  • In addition to extra writing each day, students will see, document, and own all of the knowledge they are building over the weeks and months.

Step 4: Students share knowledge in 1 or 2 minutes


  • After students are done reading, and have made an entry into their Book of Knowledge, do a brief sharing activity with the class about what they’ve learned and would like to remember. Simply ask a few students to share with the class out loud one thing they each learned from the article.
  • We suggest also having a class Book of Knowledge, for example on chart paper. This is great to use for a knowledge review with the class at the end of each week.

Why is Article-A-Day so Important?

Students need a great deal of background knowledge and vocabulary in order to comprehend, even if they are fluent readers. The biggest reasons why even fluent readers cannot comprehend is that they lack background knowledge about the topic, and lack vocabulary.  The more background knowledge and vocabulary a student can learn, as early as possible, the easier and faster it is for that student to learn even more background knowledge and vocabulary as the year goes on. Knowledge begets knowledge.

Just reading one high-quality nonfiction article every day independently will have massive benefits over the course of the year on knowledge and vocabulary gain.  Students will also build their reading stamina. And students truly enjoy reading for Article-A-Day and having their own Books of Knowledge.

That’s it! Additional tips and suggestions are below:

Tips and Suggestions

Student sharing


  • Most of the time the closing sharing activity should be done whole class, out loud. However, sometimes you may want to do pair-share or turn-and-talk.
  • This sharing process should only take one or two minutes. This isn’t time for extended discussion or close reading of the text. Remember, the purpose of Article-A-Day is to build important background knowledge, vocabulary, and reading/listening stamina.
    • Note, students will become very interested in the topics they are reading about in Article-A-Day. So teachers will have many teaching opportunities related to Article-A-Day that they can take advantage of at other times of the day and year.

Extensions when sharing (to do once per week or every few days)


  • Ask students to make connections among the things they’ve learned from reading the articles that week, and from articles they read other weeks.
  • Have students share a few new vocabulary words they have learned that week through Article-A-Day. (Keep track of them in the class Book of Knowledge)

Sharing to create a schoolwide culture around gaining knowledge by reading


  • Post all of the class Books of Knowledge chart paper on the outside of the classroom door facing the hallway, or on the hallway wall. It’s very powerful when students walk down the hallway and see all of the knowledge they and their schoolmates are building through reading. It really creates a school culture around the value and enjoyment of reading, learning new knowledge, and learning new vocabulary.
  • A couple of weeks a year have all of the classes in the school simultaneously read article sets about a similar topic, for example “geography.”

Giving students a “micro-choice”


  • Give your students a “micro-choice” by letting them choose between two articles.
    • You may want to wait to introduce the micro-choice until your students are fully into the daily routine.
    • If you do the micro-choice: please be sure that some knowledge is shared from both of the articles during the sharing time.

Students vote for their favorite article of the week and take it home to share


  • At the end of each week have students vote on their favorite article. Then send a copy of the class winner(s) home with each student to read/share with their parents, guardians, family members, or friends.

Books of Knowledge


  • Your most struggling students may have an easier time writing in their Books of Knowledge after hearing their classmates share what they’ve learned (after step 4).
  • Students can write or draw the knowledge they want to remember in their Book of Knowledge (pieces of paper or in a composition book).

Differentiation


  • In some cases, when a teacher has ELL, special needs, or struggling students, the teacher will read out loud to a small group of them on the side while her other students read independently. Then everyone participates together in the sharing process.
  • Remember that Article-A-Day builds background knowledge, vocabulary, and reading stamina.  This will improve your students’ reading comprehension a lot over the course of the year, so they can comprehend what they are reading other parts of the day.
  • What’s great about Article-A-Day is that your students are able to participate fully and share without the need for differentiation of the articles, because you are selecting article sets that all, or almost all, of your students can read without a lot of difficulty. (See below for tips on article level selection.)
  • ReadWorks Article-A-Day is not a time for close reading and deep analysis. Therefore the articles do not have to be, and should not be, very challenging for your students to read. Because the articles are high quality nonfiction, even your strongest readers will still learn a lot of knowledge and vocabulary from these articles, and they will enjoy them, even if the articles seem to be below their reading level at the start of the year.  Read this following kindergarten passage and you will see that even adults can learn serious background knowledge from a passage that is not very challenging to read:
Who was Cleopatra? She was a queen of Egypt. Egypt is a country in Africa. It is known for its big pyramids. Cleopatra became queen when she was 18 years old. First she ruled with one of her brothers. Later she went to war against him. She won! Cleopatra was a strong queen. She spoke many languages. Some say she had beauty and charm. Egypt became richer under her rule. At last Cleopatra’s rule ended. Egypt was attacked by Rome. The Romans were a powerful people in Cleopatra’s time. Egypt lost. Cleopatra died soon after. Nobody is sure how.

Extension ideas for the strongest readers


  • If some students finish reading and then writing in their Book of Knowledge well before others are done you can:
    • Have the student write a summary of what he/she read
    • Have the student write down some questions he/she would like to research or answer based on what was in the article
    • Write down questions for the class or other classmates to answer when the teacher thinks it would be appropriate
    • Have the student read another one of the related articles
    • Have the student write down one or two vocabulary words he/she believes are important for understanding the article
      • The student can then write sentences with those vocabulary words, or think of synonyms or antonyms

How to pick the best set of articles for your student’s reading levels


  • At the beginning of the year select weekly sets of articles that all, or almost all, of your students can read without difficulty.  As the weeks and months pass select more challenging articles when you feel the class is ready.

Two Selection Charts for Article Levels are Below

Chart 1: Using Grade Levels

Kindergarten Teachers (read-aloud)

  • Use sets labeled: "Grades: K-3"

Tip: If at any point in the school year, you feel your students can begin to read independently, give it a try! Begin with K-3 sets.

1st Grade Teachers (read-aloud)

  • When all, or almost all, of your students are already on grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 1-4"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are not yet on grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: K-3"

Tip: If at any point in the school year, you feel your students can begin to read independently, give it a try! Begin with K-3 sets.

2nd Grade Teachers

  • When all, or almost all, of your students are already reading at grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 2-5"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are getting close to reading at grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 1-4"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are not yet on grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: K-3"

Tip: If your students are not reading independently yet, start by reading aloud to them. Then, if at any point in the school year, you feel your students can begin to read independently, give it a try! Begin with K-3 sets.

3rd Grade Teachers

  • When all, or almost all, of your students are already reading at grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 3-6"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are getting close to reading at grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 2-5"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are reading below grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 1-4"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are reading well below grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: K-3"

4th Grade Teachers

  • When all, or almost all, of your students are already reading at grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 4-7"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are getting close to reading at grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 3-6"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are reading below grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 2-5"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are reading well below grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 1-4"

5th Grade Teachers

  • When all, or almost all, of your students are already reading at grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 5-8"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are getting close to reading at grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 4-7"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are reading below grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 3-6"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are reading well below grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 2-5"

6th Grade Teachers

  • When all, or almost all, of your students are getting close to reading at grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 5-8"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are reading below grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 4-7"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are reading well below grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 3-6"

7th Grade Teachers

  • When all, or almost all, of your students are reading below grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 5-8"
  • When all, or almost all, of your students are reading well below grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 4-7"

8th Grade Teachers

  • When all, or almost all, of your students are reading well below grade level, use sets labeled "Grades: 5-8"

Chart 2: Using Article Set Levels

Grade: K-3 sets are recommended for:

  • Kindergarten classes when all of the students are already reading at grade level
  • 1st grade classes when everyone is getting close to reading at 1st grade level
  • 2nd grade classes when most students are reading below 2nd grade level
  • 3rd grade classes when most students are reading well below 3rd grade level

Grade: 1-4 sets are recommended for:

  • 1st grade classes when all of the students are already reading at grade level
  • 2nd grade classes when everyone is getting close to reading at 2nd grade level
  • 3rd grade classes when most students are reading below 3rd grade level
  • 4th grade classes when most students are reading well below 4th grade level

Grade: 2-5 sets are recommended for:

  • 2nd grade classes when all of the students are already reading at grade level
  • 3rd grade classes when everyone is getting close to reading at 3rd grade level
  • 4th grade classes when most students are reading below 4th grade level
  • 5th grade classes when most students are reading well below 5th grade level

Grade: 3-6 sets are recommended for:

  • 3rd grade classes when all of the students are already reading at grade level
  • 4th grade classes when everyone is getting close to reading at 4th grade level
  • 5th grade classes when most students are reading below 5th grade level
  • 6th grade classes when most students are reading well below 6th grade level

Grade 4-7 sets are recommended for:

  • 4th grade classes when all of the students are already reading at grade level
  • 5th grade classes when everyone is getting close to reading at 5th grade level
  • 6th grade classes when most students are reading below 6th grade level
  • 7th grade classes when most students are reading well below 7th grade level

Grade 5-8 sets are recommended for:

  • 5th grade classes when all students are already reading at grade level
  • 6th grade classes when everyone is getting close to reading at 6th grade level
  • 7th grade classes when most students are reading below 7th grade level
  • 8th grade classes when most students are reading well below 8th grade level

How to use what students are doing in Article-A-Day during other parts of the school day


  • Use the articles students have read in Article-A-Day for:
    • Fluency practice
    • Vocabulary instruction with ReadWorks pre-selected words and vocabulary supports (each of the articles in the set can be found as a stand-alone article, with a question set, vocabulary, etc.)
    • Teaching reading skills and strategies
    • Close reading and comprehension reinforcement in small groups
    • Use the ReadWorks question sets from the articles for homework, independent practice, or small group work so that students have more practice answering explicit and inferential questions that require them to use evidence from the text

Please let us know if you have any questions. Click “Feedback” in blue on the left side of the screen and we will be happy to help you or you and your colleagues.

Thank you for all you do in the classroom and Happy Teaching!

User Comments

May I ask why these articles don't come with questions?

We don't recommend incorporating articles' question sets in the Article-A-Day routine. The primary focus for Article-A-Day is for students to build background knowledge. Therefore, this 10 to 15 minutes should be reserved exclusively for students to do the following: (1) read an article, (2) write two to three things they learned and want to remember in their Book of Knowledge, and (3) share what they've learned and would like to remember.

However, if you choose to incorporate articles' question sets as part of your instruction or students' independent practice at a later point in time, you will find that many, but not all, of the articles featured in Article-A-Day sets have question sets. They can be found by searching for those specific articles on our site. We will be adding question sets for the ones that don't have them over time.