Extending the meaning of a text involves representing or reflecting on the text students have just read in a guided reading lesson in some way, which, in turn, extends thinking. Students will just have processed a more challenging text, which means they are in an optimal position to extend their understanding. Here are ten suggestions for extending the meaning of texts:
1. Discuss the book in pairs or threesomes.
2. Diagram the internal organizational structures in texts--compare/contrast, problem/solution, cause/effect, sequence, question/answer, story map.
3. Prepare graphic organizers (a character web or a timeline, for example) to reveal the author's craft.
4. Comment on the text in interactive or shared writing.
5. Describe characters, summarize sections of the text, or make a list of key ideas in interactive or shared writing.
6. Respond with "quick writes" that can be shared later.
7. Respond with "quick sketches" that support thinking and can be used as a basis for more talk or writing.
8. Present a readers' theater piece using portions of the text.
9. Write a poem about the book.
10. Collect favorite quotes from the text and tell why they chose them.
Because you are always working with texts, these suggestions have endless variations. Extending the meaning may also depend on whether the text is fiction or nonfiction. You will not want to engage your students in tasks after reading unless you have evidence that they need to explore the meaning further or can benefit from the activity as they apply strategies to further reading.
Adapted from Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2006 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.