To make the thoughts of others more concrete, Michelle Garcia Winner at Social Thinking has long recommended using free-standing hand-held thought bubbles. I’ve taken this idea and extended it to reading comprehension. Instead of the thought bubble representing the thoughts of others, I use them to help students develop the skills of thinking while they are reading.
In my past post, I explained how I introduce the concept of “real reading”. In this activity, the thought bubble I use to support metacognitive skills is not hand-held — rather, it’s about two-feet wide with a hole for poking their head through. My purpose in using an overgrown thought bubble is to demonstrate how “real readers” think while they are reading or have a conversation with the text.
As you can see, I have students hold up the giant thought bubble and read a portion of the text (I like to use nonfiction, but any text will do). Frequent stops are made as the reader thinks aloud. In a group, I have students take turns passing the thought bubble to practice thinking aloud. You could even try presenting a passage orally and having students think aloud while you read.
No matter how you decide to use this lesson, students will learn the value of thinking aloud and having a conversation with the text. And best of all, their reading comprehension skills will improve!
Have you tried using thinking bubbles to build metacognitive skills? What’s worked for you?