Helping students “chunk” texts to synthesize information, paraphrase ideas, and better organize their thinking.

Chunking as they read enables students to get a small, immediate understanding of the author’s meaning. From this foundation, they are better able to extrapolate more of what the author is saying.

To teach “chunking” in my classroom, I first present any challenging vocabulary words in the text. Then I give a mini-lesson focused on the first two-to-three paragraphs.  As a class we then together discuss the meaning of what we’ve read. Next, I ask the students to cite some textual evidence that directly explains and supports the meanings we just discussed. We go through this process together, two or three times as a whole class. Then, I organize the students into smaller groups–twos, or threes, or independent learners–and ask them to continue to do the same thing. Each group takes a different page and works on the meaning they gather from that particular page. Finally, we come back together as a class and each group presents their results so that everyone ends up teaching each other.

This practice translates into better decision-making across all areas of the students’ lives; it’s not just for a piece of text in English class. I think this process helps them make sense of the world and where they fit into it.

Vivett Dukes

Vivett is currently the English Department Chair at Eagle Academy for Young Men in Queens, New York. She has over 6 years teaching experience in the classroom. Vivett has served as a lab facilitator for the Learning Partners Program run by the New... Full Bio