It can seem like there are hundreds of skills to teach when it comes to reading fiction. We've seen anchor charts covering every inch of classroom space. Teachers spend hours and hours sifting through resources to decide what to teach each day. It is overwhelming and exhausting. Maybe we don't need to make it so complicated. We spent time thinking about how we could make it all a lot simpler.
We realized that all of the skills and teaching points we ever taught for reading fiction fall into two main categories. Yes, only two! These categories help streamline our decision-making, help students stay focused and clear on what they are learning, and help us teachers keep anxiety at bay.
The two main areas of fiction that all the other comprehension reading skills fit into are understanding characters and interpreting themes. Think about it. When we study setting it is because the characters are in that place. When we infer conflict it is because how conflicts are handled help us understand both characters and themes.
When we focus on these two main areas we can go for depth over breadth and really dive deep into student learning. In Chapters 5 and 6 of our new book, What Do I Teach Readers Tomorrow? Fiction, we show you how to support students in these two main areas.
The video below shows us talking about why we focus on just these two main areas.