Reading Apprenticeship at TCC

TCC faculty guide about reading apprenticeship resources and techniques

Getting started with Reading Apprenticeship


Start the quarter off right by focusing on the personal and social dimensions in your classroom. 

  • Use a Personal Reading History (PRH) to get to know a little about each student. These templates are available in the drop down menu on this tab.  The value of asking your students about their reading histories, and sharing yours, establishes a culture of shared discussion about reading strengths, challenges, and needs.
  • Next, begin a Readers Strategy List or Lists. This allows students to tell you what they do to approach text. Each type of text may need its own list.
  • Model your reading. Using a document camera, or lecture capture with overhead camera, show the students “how” you read text in your field. Focus on the signposts and the specialized use of language and structures that help you decode, decipher, and make meaning.
  • Allow time for reflection and discussion. This should be done regularly and in an open atmosphere that fosters metacognitive conversations. There are many RA routines available to assist readers with metacognitive strategies, and to help you facilitate metacognitive discussions in class, and online.

Websites about 25-Word Summary

Ready-to-Use Templates - 25 Word Summary

These ready-to-use templates were created by RAT Pack Leader and ABE/GED instructor, Michele Lesmeister.

RAT Tracks Tip Sheet - 25 Word Summary

Websites about Gallery Walks

RAT Tracks Tip Sheet - Gallery Walk

Featured Video: RTC's Jim Drinkwine Talks about Using a Gallery Walk

This is a video of RTC instructor Jim Drinkwine talking about how he uses Gallery Walks in his Administrative Office Management program.

Source: "Teaching Tip - Jim Drinkwine: Gallery Walks" by RTC Life, Standard YouTube license

Graphic Organizers: Definition and Use

Thinking can be expressed in many ways - including visually using graphic representations of information. Graphic organizers can help students organize their thinking and can help instructors "see" what their students are thining and understanding - or not understanding. 

Graphic organizers can help in brainstorming, collecting or organizing data, increasing understanding, reinforcing comprehension, analyzing and interpreting information and planning projects.  Graphic organizers can be used to show sequences and time lines, compare and contrast, character/story organization, cause and effect, concepts and processes, hierachical relationships and more.

Websites about Graphic Organizers

Articles and Websites about Metacognition

Featured Video:  Metacognitive Conversation - by Michele Lesmeister

Source: "Reading Apprenticeship for all formats" by RTC Life, Standard YouTube license

Modeling - Definition and Use

Using a document reader or overhead projector, show students “how” you read text in your field. Focus on the signposts and the specialized use of language and structures that help you decode, decipher, and make meaning.

RAT Tracks Tip Sheet - Modeling from Renton Technical College

Featured Video

Model what you want your students to do. This is a short, simple video - likely for high school students in a beginning biology course. It shows the instructor modeling Talking to the Text, working his way through a short piece of text, making his thoughts visible on paper.

Source: "Glycolysis - General Talking to the Text" by, Standard YouTube license

Website and Video Links about Creating a Personal Reading History

Ready-To-Use Templates - Personal Reading History

Click on the links below to access ready-to-use PDF files of Personal Reading History templates created by Michele Lesmeister.

Featured Video:  Michele Lesmeister's (RTC) Class Creates a Personal Reading History

Source: "RA Methods: Personal Reading History" by RTC Life, Standard YouTube license

Question Answer Relationships (QAR) - Definition and Use

Question Answer Relationships (QAR) was developed by Taffy Raphael to help students learn how to answer questions based on what is actually found in the text as well as using their own background knowledge.

The QAR routine can visibly show students the relationships between questions and answers and that the answers (and where the answers can be found!) are related to the type of question being asked.

There are four types of questions:

  1. Right There - Question and answer are found in the same sentence.
  2. Think and Search - Answer is in the text but student needs to look in several places to find the answer.
  3. Author and You - Answer is not in the text. Student combines what they know from the text with their own knowledge.
  4. On My Own - Answer is not in the text and student can answer question from their own knowledge without reading the text.

QAR can also be used with websites and media formats.

QAR Websites

Readers Strategy Lists (RSL) - Definition and Use

Readers Strategy Lists (RSL) are lists of strategies that good readers use when decoding, deciphering and comprehending a text passage.  RSLs are useful because they provide a common language for talking about reading.  RSLs point out that different strategies are used with different types of reading. When a student reads a non-fiction textbook, they use different strategies than when they read fiction or when they read test questions.

Ready-to-Use Templates - Readers Strategy Lists

Featured Video:  Michele Lesmeister's (RTC) Class Creates a Readers Strategy List

Source: "RA METHODS - Reader's Strategy List" by RTC Life, Standard YouTube license

Reading/Evidence Logs - Definition and Us

Using metacognitive Reading Logs is one one to help students make their own thinking visible. Double-entry logs or journals (also known as dialectical notebooks) can promote critical thinking by keeping track of students' thinking as they read. Reading logs may be double or triple-entry logs and may be specific in function such as the Evidence/Interpretation double-entry logs.

Students take notes as they move through a reading. Besides taking notes on what the author is saying, the students can also take notes on what they think about the reading, including any questions they may have.  Using columns, this organized note-taking separates the author's thoughts from the student's thoughts. 

With repeated use of  Reading Logs, students become aware of their own thinking process and begin to hone their reading skills.  It also becomes a valuable tool for instructors to track a student's progress or check a student's understanding of specific topics.

Websites about Reading/Evidence Logs

RAT Tracks Tip Sheet - Reading/Evidence Logs

Ready-to-Use Templates - Reading/Evidence Logs

These ready-to-use templates were created by RAT Pack Leader and ABE/GED instructor, Michele Lesmeister.

Websites About Schema

RAT Tracks Tip Sheet - Schema

Ready-to-Use Templates - Schema

These ready-to-use templates were created by RAT Pack Leader and ABE/GED instructor, Michele Lesmeister.

A few words about these templates for faculty use:
  • Anticipation Guide Template:  The template allows faculty to provide anticipatory statements for the students to read and then agree or disagree with.  Once the students have responded to the statements you have typed into the template, facilitate a discussion about the students' responses to the statements.  Support an open atmosphere and encourage clarification of points.  Have the students then complete their reading.  The return to the Anticipation Guide for a concluding discussion about how the article contributed to their schema and prior understanding.
  • Schema Chart:  This tool can help faculty who are discipline experts track the schema of their students and the demands of the reading.  This chart helps the faculty articulate and scaffold skills needed for building schema amoung their students.

Talking to the Text - Definition and Use  

Talking to the Text (TttT) is similar to doing a Think Aloud except that Talking to the Text is initially done on an individual basis with students reading the text on their own privately. As they read, students write their comments on the text.  Some of the same questions and prompts used in Think Alouds can be used with Talking to the Text. 

After a student does a private Talking to the Text exercise, then they share their experience with others in a Pair and Share or small group.

RAT Tracks Tip Sheet - Talking to the Text

Text Features/Structure - Definition and Use

  Text Features are structures that authors use to organize information, to cue readers and to clarify content. Sometimes text features/structures are invisible to students unless instructors explicitly point them out or teach them.

Text features/structures fall into broad categories:

  • Conventions of text (titles, headings, subheadings, legends, illustrations, etc.)
  • Conventions of print (bold type, italics, white space, punctuation, etc.)
  • Conventions of organization (cause & effect, compare & contrast, sequencing, etc.)
  • Conventions of genre (textbooks, fiction, maps, manuals, medical charts, etc.).

When readers use these supporting structures effectively, they are better able to engage in the text. Understanding text features/structures is a key skill necessary in summarizing information.

Websites About Text Features/Structures

Websites about Think Alouds

RAT Tracks Tip Sheet - Readers Strategy Lists

Vertical Text Sets Routine - Definition and Use

vertical text set presents information about the same topic in a variety of reading level ranges.  An example of a Vertical Text Set is an article on a specific topic from the World Book Encyclopedia used in conjunction with an article on that same topic from the Encyclopedia Britannica's Macropaedia.  Both articles are on the same topic, but the World Book article will have less detail and be easier to read and understand than the article in the Britannica.

Vertical Text Sets can be used to scaffold a reader to higher levels of reading.  

Websites about Vertical Text Sets

RAT Tracks Tip Sheet - Vertical Text Sets

Ready-to-Use Templates - Word Meaning & Structure

These ready-to-use templates were created by RAT Pack Leader and ABE/GED instructor, Michele Lesmeister and include:

+ and –  Word Knowledge Chart: 

This form helps students collect, review, and create meaning about words that are important in their readings.  This form helps students build new knowledge based on what they already know (their schema).

Clarification Chart: 

This graphic organizer can help students discuss and learn the schema for learning vocabulary in context.  Context is critical in meaning making.

Definition Schematic: 

This tool helps students learn the definition and the applications of a term and the terms in many of its forms and uses. The students are able to place the idiosyncrasies related to the terms in one place and build knowledge about the uses of the term.

Frayer Model: 

The use of the Frayer model helps students define the term in their own language, illustrate it and then contrast that term with items or concepts which are not like the term being defined.  This graphic organizer is a strong scaffold for introducing new or key concepts in readings.

Semantic Web: 

This graphic organizer provides a way for students to gather and connect a lot of information in one place and therefore helps them build schema around vocabulary. This graphic helps students differentiate word forms form one another, and thereby, expands the students’ use of the term. 

Websites about Word Meaning and Structure

Things Students Say 

Whether new to academic skill practice and culture, or a seasoned pro, most students need some practice with academic reading at some point. Here is what some students say after participating in RA skills practice (text features):

"I tended to view a lot of these conventions as obstacles in my own writing as they seem somewhat daunting if one is not familiar with them. It’s clearer now that these conventions are in place because they make navigating an article much easier, and are actually quite logical" (LS 102 student, 2016).

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Except where otherwise noted, the content in these guides by Tacoma Community College Library is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0.
This openly licensed content allows others to cite, share, or modify this content, with credit to TCC Library. When reusing or adapting this content, include this statement in the new document: This content was originally created by Tacoma Community College Library and shared with a CC BY SA 4.0 license.

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