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Instructional Strategies that Really Work

Instructional StrategiesSilent Statements are one way to engage a reader in dialogue with the text and the author’s voice. The statement should come from a quote that causes the reader to react from an emotional, perceptual, or associative stand point. The quotes should be open in structure allowing the reader to immediately bring personal context to the writing while creating an opening for the group or class to discuss various components of the author’s content.

This technique can be used the the learning management system, Canvas, by going into the collaborations tab in the left sidebar and choosing to use EtherPad or Google Drive as a platform for information exchange. Simply type the chosen quote(s) within either of these two venues and assign participants to highlight, comment, or edit the content by adding their thoughts, perspectives,and take on the subject at hand.


In an article found in The English Journal, Bob Probst (1988) discusses the importance of having learners create a dialogue with a text. He recounts Rosenblatt’s (1985) principles for bringing the reader into a deep and personal conversation with the text:

  1. Learners should be free to share and acknowledge personal reactions to the written quote provided.
  2. Provision of “an initial crystallization of a personal sense of the work.”
  3. The facilitator or group participants should look for a point of contact or connection between the opinions of the readers.
  4. If the facilitator participates the influence should be, “an elaboration of the vital influence inherent in the literature {text} itself.”

For more information see Rosenblatt, L. M. (1985). “Language, literature and values”, Language, schooling, and society. (Ed). Stephen N. Tchudi. Upper Montclair, NJ: Heinemann.

Learning Outcomes

Students/Participants will communicate silently regarding a given text by highlighting and or writing about a chosen section of the given text.

Students/Participants will use the given question or scenario to guide comments about the content.

Students/Participants will interact with each other in written form (within given electronic statements) to challenge, support or defend others comments.

Assessment Strategy

Use history tab to identify the number of times a student/participant interacts with the text and others. Log number or interactions, research based support for comments, and relationship between the given prompt and student/participant text.

Instructional Strategy

Dr. Stokes has used this learning and teaching strategy in a variety of ways…Electronic Posting, Chart Paper Posting, Pass the Paper Posting. Each sharing of the text provides individual as well as group processing. The set up is easy the power of the strategy is in the process.

The Set Up:

  1. Find a piece of text that causes an internal conversation for the reader.
  2. Copy the quote onto a display that will allow the reader to comment on the text. Individual comments should be public to the group so that the conversation extends beyond the individual reader to a group conversation.
  3. Direct the readers to consider on or more of Probst following focuses. You can either “post” the focus and the question or simply provide the guiding questions with each text selection.
Focus Question
First Reaction What is your first reaction or response to the text?
Feelings What feelings did the text awaken in your? What emotions did you feel as your read the text?
Perceptions What did you see happening in the text? Paraphrase it- or retell the major content.
Visual Images What images were called to mind when reading?
Associations What memory does the text call to mind- of people, places, events, sights, smells, or even of something more ambiguous such as a feeling or attitude?
Thoughts or Ideas What ideas or thoughts were suggested by the text?
Judgments of Importance What words would you choose as most important when connecting to your work?
Identification of Problems What concerns do you have after reading the text or other comments? Do you need clarification or disagree with the content? If so, what specific concerns are apparent and how do you navigate these issues to come to a consensus about the usefulness of the text.
Author Who is the individual who wrote the original text? What life or experiential influences might the author have that may be similar or different to your background?
Response How did you respond to the text- emotionally, intellectually, associatively…?
Group Response Did you agree with statements others made regarding the given text? Did you disagree? What connections did you make with the content provided by other readers?
Connections Are there other authors that write on this subject that you referenced? Did other group members highlight research that supported or disproved the provided content?
Evolutions of Reading How did your understanding of the overall content change through participation in this learning strategy?
Text Associations Does this text bring to mind other texts? These do not have to be informational or research text. What connections did you make?

Next the process:

  1. Without speaking have each participant write their comments (based on the focus or question) on each text. The participant text should relate directly to the chosen focus including specific concerns, connections, and perspectives of the individual. At times there may even be a need to require sources written to support the comments written. Then the reader should also respond to at least two other responses from the group.
  2. It is important to note that omitting of verbal conversation creates both an internal and metacognitive processing to occur.
  3. Once the participants have discussed each text based on the facilitator’s focus, a verbal conversation of the group can extend the processing of the text.
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