Say Something Strategy

Often times, students don’t focus on what they are reading, confusing page turning for comprehending. To help students break this habit Say Something helps students attend to their reading. This strategy interrupts a student’s reading of a text, giving the student a chance to think about what is being read. Students get into groups of two or three and take turns reading aloud. As they read, they occasionally pause to "say something" about what was read. They make a prediction, ask a question, clarify confusion, comment on what’s happening next, or connect what’s in the text to something they know. The reading partners offer a response to what was said, then a different student continues the reading until the next time they pause to say something.

1. With your partner, decide who will read aloud and say something first.
2. When you say something after reading 1-3 paragraphs, do one or more of the following:
✶ make a prediction
✶ ask a question
✶ clarify something you had misunderstood
✶ make a comment
✶ make a connection
✶ make an argument
3. If you can’t do one of those six things, try rereading.

Make cards that have sentence starters if students struggle with doing any of the options. For example,

Making an Argument Sentence Starters
Comparing Arguments
-Of course…but…
-Some may think…others think…
-There are two sides to this argument...
✶ Listing Arguments
-It is also important to think about…
-My first/second argument is…
-A different perspective may be…
✶ Closing Arguments
-So, you could say…
-If you think about all that...

Refer to p.108 in When Kids Cant Read by Kylene Beers.

I have seen the cards used without sentence prompts. Students using these cards were familiar with the "Say Something" strategy and didn't need the sentence starters to say something. The students used the cards as a management tool for having discussions reminding them of tyes of comments that can be made when having a discussion. Use the attachment for a pirnit out of these cards.

Mr. Ken Koch, a Theatre Arts teacher at Northeast MS, got creative and revised the Say Something strategy into the concept of a poker game. He did this because he knows his students well and they love games.

Holly Lambert, a Music teacher at Lincoln Heights, uses the Say Something strategy to get students to think more about their reading. She expresses how it worked, what the students provided as feedback and some pictures to illustrate the use of the strategy.

For the kinesthetic learners or for those that find it hard to "say something," try cubing with your students for a different approach. Scaffold the lesson by supplying ELL or lower leveled students with sentence starters.

The Wingman: Engaging the Reluctant Student
This Teaching Channel video is yet another way to promote students to talk. By having a "Wingman" students are held accountable for contributing to the conversation.