By Selia Lee Garza
As part of a final project for my READ 6351 class I was to work on the class wiki page which can be found at http://read6351.wikispaces.com/. For this project I chose to work on the classroom application of several reading strategies. My favorite, at least between the ones I have used, was the Story Ray. In this strategy the students are supposed to create a visual representation of their books on strips of paper and put the whole story together. This particular reading strategy involved me reading a selection aloud to the students. We read Who Stole the Wizard of Oz? by Avi. We read this book together over a period of about two weeks. Once the entire selection was read I divided my class into groups of three to four and gave them a couple of chapters from the book. They were to reread their selection and talk about what in the story was important enough to visually represent on the story ray. Once this brainstorming session was over each group was given a sentence strip and time to work on their chapters. I will be honest and inform you that my students mostly created illustrations of the story rather than visual representations. This was ok. I realized that the conversations that the students had while working on this project were deeper than I had heard before. Because I was so happy with the results of using this reading strategy I ventured to try it again. The second story ray proved to have better results than the first. The students were still having deep conversations but the biggest difference was their focus on the important aspects of their particular selections. They thought more about what they were going to draw and why it was important. I even had a few students talking about why they had chosen the colors that they used. The improvement that my students showed from the first to the second implementation of this strategy was enough to make it be a strategy that I will likely continue to use time and time again.