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Pre-Reading Activity for Ender's Game

Educational Benefits:

  • Teaches questioning - good readers ask themselves questions and look for the answers as they read; whereas bad readers don't get it, get confused, think they're dumb/can't read, and give up. This demonstrates for poorer readers how to question. It's OK not to get it right away - keep reading, keep looking for the answers.
  • Allows student input - students have personal stakes in class.
  • Involves the entire class - even slackers/anarchists like to question, especially when they get to say something doesn't make sense.

Materials Needed:

  • Transparency of first section of E.G. (the section that appears in a different font)
  • Overhead projector (opt. - large sheets of butcher paper - if you're into that)

Activity - 20 Questions:

  1. Before handing out the book, divide class into small groups. (opt) assign a "stay-on-task" master, a timer, a recorder, a reporter for each group
  2. Put the overhead up and read through it out loud.
  3. Ask students to do the following: Put all group members' names on a piece of paper. (opt. use butcher paper) Generate 20 questions based on the passage. What do they want to know? What doesn't make sense? What do they want explained? Simple or Complex. (opt) Initial the questions each member created.
  4. When the groups are done, have them report back 3-4 questions. Teacher, record these somehow. (If you do it on the chalk board, you'll have to erase it before the next class, which could be problematic - try transparency/butcher paper.)
  5. After all groups have reported, ask if any groups had questions that had yet to be asked.
  6. Turn in papers for participation points. Everyone starts the unit with an A!
  7. Explain that this is the first page of the novel that they'll be assigned next. As you segue into handing out books, making reading assignments, etc., it's a good time to emphasize the fact that good readers question and read on for answers, that this activity had a purpose, that it's OK if what they read doesn't make sense to them yet.
  8. After school, you, the teacher, compile the best 20 questions from the whole day, being sure to include both simple and complex questions. (Have a "problem" student? - be sure to include his/her question.) Write them on poster board and hang them in the classroom for the next day. Refer to them as the chapters go on: How many can you answer now? Perhaps base a quiz on them. Refer back to them when the novel is done: Can you even remember a time when you didn't know these things?

AS MAKE-UP WORK- hand the student the overhead from the day before (send to hall/situate so they can't see the poster), and have them generate 10-15 questions on their own to make up the participation points.

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