Directed Reading-Thinking Activity

DRTA, Previewing the Text, Read and Reflect

UDL 3.3 UDL 5.3

The Directed Reading-Thinking Activity is a metacognitive reading comprehension strategy in which teachers are guiding students to monitor their reading thought-process. Before reading the assigned text, teachers **D**irect the students to make predictions about the text using the text features (e.g., title, pictures, etc) to access any background knowledge they have on the topic. Then students read the text, pausing at specific sections of the text marked by the teacher to **R**eflect on what they read and modify any predictions, referring to evidence from the text. At the end of the each section the students **T**hink about what they have read and make final modifications. The strategy can be modeled by a teacher in a class mini lesson, small group, or individual reading conference. Good readers use metacognitive strategies automatically to understand what they are reading. The DRTA is a guided way teachers can demonstrate how that process works in their brains.

Implementation Tips

Plan Ahead
Read the selection ahead of time and choose appropriate stopping points during the reflect portion of the DRTA, such as headings and illustrations. Teacher should plan specific connections or questions they will ask during the pause to reflect on the evidence they have just read. Questions they might ask, “What did I just read?”, “What was important?”, “How does that change what my initial prediction was?”
Graphic Organizer
Give students a graphic organizer to help visually guide them through each part of the DRTA process as they read the text. The organizer can contain a space for the writing the first prediction, for writing questions they might have about the text, and finally for revising predictions.
Time for Reflection
Demonstrate being an active readers during specific pause time to provide time to pose open ended reflection questions aloud to model for your students. Teachers can model their reflection process by asking, “What is the main idea? Does this change my prediction?” Then they might show how to go back to the text for evidence.
Peer Collaboration
Provide thinking time during which students can turn to a neighbor to formulate thoughts and pose questions they have. Students can learn a lot from their classmates and it provides another opportunity to solidify thinking and expand their knowledge about the topic.
Struggling Readers
Use small groups to guide struggling readers through the DRTA process. Choose books that are on their independent reading level and are high interest texts. Focus on making the connections to the content so that they can build background knowledge and learn to make evidence based predictions rather than “guessing”.
Independent Reading Level
Select texts at independent reading levels of your students to guide the planning process. After presenting a teacher led version, students will need to practice the DRTA on their own. The goal of the lesson is to monitor their thinking. If the text is too complicated, student thinking will be lost because their energy and focus will be spent on decoding the text.


Whole Group Lesson
Students are gathered around the teacher on the carpet or in their desks. The teacher is sitting near chart paper where all students can see. The teacher begins by introducing the students to the text; engaging students in a picture walk, reading the title and introducing any specific vocabulary. The teacher models how they form a prediction based on the information presented so far and asks students to do the same. The teacher then begins reading the story out loud. At a predetermined stopping spot, they begin modeling reading strategies used during this time (e.g., questioning, connecting, etc.). Students are encouraged to listen and connect to the text on their own while watching the teacher models their own thinking. The teacher continues to read on, then stops again at another predetermined stopping point. This time, students are asked to [[|turn and talk]] sharing their own questions and thinking so far. The teacher then models how to reflect on the prediction from the beginning, forming a new prediction, using textual evidence. The teacher then continues the story, asking students to continue to monitor their thinking. At this point less attention is drawn to teacher thinking in order to give students more autonomy. At the end of the story, students are asked to reflect on whether their predictions were correct citing textual evidence in their response.
Guided Practice
Once students have had a whole group experience with the DRTA, students can select smaller groups of homogenous reading levels to adjust to the needs of these students. Students and teacher begin with a shorter text that is at the students’ independent reading level. The teacher has already previewed the text and marked specific stopping points to reflect and revise predictions. Students begin by telling the teacher what they see on the cover of the book. They can say what they already know about the topic and share other connections. Use this [[|graphic organizer]] to record their predictions. Then, students and teacher begin to read aloud. At the stopping point, the teacher asks the students to summarize what they just read and what questions they have? Gradually the teacher allows the student to use this process on their own and monitors what they are writing down in their prediction/reflection log.
Independent Practice
The goal of any reading strategy is for students to use them during their independent reading. Once students have been given ample opportunity for practice and have shown mastery over the strategy, students are asked to apply it during their independent reading. Using a reading response journal or graphic organizer, students form a prediction at the beginning of the reading and then monitor how that prediction is changing at the progress in the text. When writing their responses text evidence should be present to support their thinking. The anchor chart created during the whole group lesson is displayed as a reference for students. In addition, teacher can provide sentence starters to help students write their reflections, such as “In the beginning I thought__________, but now I think_______. My thinking has changed because______.”

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