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Metacognition & Reading Salad

Reading Salad...the kids were intrigued.  That sounds weird.  Are we going to cook something?  Are we going to eat salad?  

If you have read Comprehension Connections then you are familiar with Reading Salad.  It is a great visual way of demonstrating to students that we need to be thinking as we read and how to do it.  For some students, this is a totally new idea!  Some have no idea that reading is not just calling out the words; that we need to be thinking about those words and ideas as we go.  

I made some visuals- books with the word text on them and a thinking face with the word thinking.  These made up our lettuce and tomatoes for the "salad".  

Then I read When I Was Young in the Mountains.  It is a great book that has a lot of places where we could stop and think about the text. I demonstrated this by reading a section and dropping in my salad bowl a red text card.  Then I would think about that section and drop in a green thinking card.  After a bit of demonstrating, I would read another section and a student would drop in a card.  If a student wanted to share their thinking they did and then got to drop in a thinking card.  We learned that thinking about the text was really a natural thing to do:  we wondered what a johnny house was, why the kids chose to swim in the pond with the snake, thought about what the grandma in the story cooked was like what our grandma cooked, etc...

Then on the next day, I reread a section to the students where the kids in the story draped a dead snake across their shoulders for a picture.  They wrote about that, sketched it, and then wrote about their thinking.  I love this one!  He made a judgement about the kids in the story that they must be rednecks to do something like that!

I agreed with this little student- why would anyone do something like put a snake on their shoulders????  One student even wrote that they thought the kids must be crazy to do that!  I agreed with that one too!

I found this thinking interesting...several of my students that day were wondering if the kids would get bitten by the snake even though the text clearly stated the snake was dead.  I guess when you fear snakes it doesn't matter if it is dead or not because they still think it can bite!

If you would like to have the Reading Salad that I used just click here to download it!


  1. Love this idea! It'll be perfect for my lesson this week on holding onto meaning! Thanks for sharing.
    Tales of a Teacher

    1. I just did a post on how this lesson idea went over with my students. By far my favorite lesson of the year so far! It totally made sense to my students when in years past it wasn't as clear. Thanks again for sharing this awesome idea!

    2. Thanks so much for letting me know how your lesson went with the reading salad! I love your twist on it! So glad that it was helpful!

  2. I did enjoy that book. It reminded me to connect their learning to the concrete as much as possible. I don't know that I've gotten better about that though. :)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. I like how the author uses everyday items to make her lessons more visual and concrete for the students. It really does help them. And I know you are really good at that too, Tammy!

  3. I bet the kids remember that lesson with all the visuals AND the snake bit:)
    I enjoyed this post!
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Designs

    1. Thanks so much, Barb! The visuals really did seem to help the kids understand what they needed to be doing. And of course, anything with snakes gets their attention!


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