This week I am collaborating with one of our sixth grade teachers to learn about reading online and doing research. Soon our sixth graders will be doing their big Wax Museum and learning about famous people from the past. As they start the research process--we wanted to teach them some information literacy skills about doing research. Earlier this month we talked about skimming and scanning on the web in preparation to doing online research.
Our goals in collaboration to their 6th grade reading and Social Studies Standards are for kids to be able to answer:
- Can I trust this source?
- Is this this the source that I am looking for?
- Can I understand this on my own?
- Do I trust this source?
Today, we taught the students about readability. We first discussed how students find answers to research problems and then discussed how they would go about researching the topic of "bats."
I found three articles about bats for the students to read. One was too easy, one was just right, and one was much too difficult. Students read the articles and discussed in small groups what made something readable to 6th graders.
As a class we were able to agree that something was readable if:
- They could read and understand it on their own
- The text had some pictures that helped them understand
- Pictures had captions
- The layout was easy to understand (kind of like a Time for Kids)
- They could skip words they didn't know and still understand the article
- The vocabulary was understanable
- They could retell in their own words
- The charts and pictures made it easier to understand
- The font was not too big or too small