This summer, I was introduced to a simple little strategy that has completely changed the way I have been teaching this year: the Comprehension Processing Question (or C.P.Q.). With one question, I was able to hand over much more responsibility to my students and take a lot of pressure off myself.
My students struggle tremendously with making inferences. For many, many years of my teaching career, I pre-loaded all the information kids needs in regard to this topic: definition, parts, Total Physical Response moves, props... But not anymore.
This year, as we sat down to read our first story, I gave my students a C.P.Q. to guide their reading and annotations. Our beginner question: What do we learn about the protagonist? That's it. Short. Sweet. To the point.
I had my students write this question at the top of their story. Next, they worked in small groups to read the story, making notes in the margin that answered the C.P.Q. When called back together for quick checks, I learned that my students were making inferences without that academic-ness of the concept wearing them down. Once they finished reading and annotating, I went back and discussed how they were already professional inference makers.
We were also able to transfer their responses to the C.P.Q. to characterization. With a minimal amount of teacher presentation, my students were able to sort through their notes to find both direct and indirect characterization about our protagonist.
I am excited to continue using this process and providing more complex questions. We read a poem after our short story, and I should have used it then. This is a genre with which my kids struggle, and I had not considered using the C.P.Q. until after finishing the lesson. Next poem, it's on!
Right now, my focus is incorporating the C.P.Q. into non-fiction reading and training my students to create a question on their own when reading independently.