Rank, Talk, Write

UDL 3.3 UDL 6.2

Rank, Talk, Write is a summarizing strategy in which students identify the key ideas of a text, rank each idea by order of importance, and then compare their analysis with peers in order to collaboratively form a summary statement about the text. When introducing this strategy, the teacher defines how to rank key ideas (e.g., “1” next to the most important idea, “2” and “3” next to the second and third most important summaries of each concept). After reading a text, students work independently or in partnerships to identify what they believe to be key ideas (e.g., writing summary statements on a graphic organizer, highlighting directly on a copy of the text) and rank each key idea. Students then actively engage in small groups to review notes about their text analyses and work together to create a summary statement (e.g., on a whiteboard, chart paper).

Implementation Tips

Rank, Talk, Write Response Sheets
Provide students with a recording sheet to use when organizing thoughts on paper, such as this [[ | graphic organizer ]] that contains writing lines for more structured responses, or this [[ | sample ]] that includes pre-numbered boxes that lends students to consider how they will rank their ideas before recording them.
Prepare for Rank, Talk, Write by making copies of the text that will be used. Even if the text is read aloud, it is important for students to have access to a copy of the text for reference throughout the activity. Also, prepare group work spaces (e.g., provide poster paper, writing tools, rearrange furniture to create space).
Introducing Rank, Talk, Write
Model the strategy using a familiar text (e.g., choose key ideas, rank ideas based on order of importance). Use think-alouds to demonstrate how to create a summary sentence for each key idea and explain how each would be ranked. Lastly, explain how students will also work in small groups to share insights.
Supporting Collaborative Interactions
Support collaborative student interactions during small group work by pre-teaching the expectations of group discussion etiquette. Discuss or create a [[ | web ]] with students to outline successful group work (e.g., be respectful and polite, everyone has a role, stay on task, make compromises).
Whole Group Discussions
Invite each small groups to share their collaborative summary statements in a whole group setting after each Rank, Talk, Write activity. Before the group share, explain to the class that some groups may have similar ideas, while others might have taken a different direction. Use the share to discuss perspectives.
Alter the expectations by allowing students to use a highlighter to identify key ideas directly on a copy of a text, or by providing a recording sheet with pre-listed key concepts (e.g., scramble the order of importance of listed ideas). Students will still be required to analyze, rank, and discuss findings among peers.
Building a Routine
Apply Rank, Talk, Write when teaching students how to strengthen their ability summarize only the most important details while reading, and to elevate participation and communication when reflecting on texts across genres (e.g., nonfiction, fiction, mystery, fables and fairy tales, historical fiction).


Summarizing Main Idea and Supporting Details
During a nonfiction reading unit, a teacher uses Rank, Talk, Write to help students practice summarizing skills. First, students are assigned into small groups. Each group is designated a chapter to read independently without conversing. After reading, each group member works independently to identify what they believe to be the key ideas of their chapter (e.g., writing down 4-5 concepts in full sentences) and then ranks them by importance. Students then share, comparing ideas and ranking methods with their group members. Next, each group works together to create a summary statement that best represents their assigned chapter. To culminate the activity, all groups share their summary statement to reflect on the text as a whole.
Rank, Talk, Write Partnerships
While asking students to participate in open discussions after daily read alouds of [[ | Shiloh, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor ]], a teacher notices many students often remain quiet and let other students participate frequently. To encourage everyone to share ideas, students are asked to participate in Rank, Talk, Write partnerships. The teacher explains, “Similar to how we’ve conducted Rank, Talk, Writes before, the same guidelines will apply. The only difference today is that you will be able to make joint decisions the whole way through.” Partnerships are formed and when the teacher cues students to summarize the key details of the day’s chapter, partners work together to choose concepts, rank them, and justify their decisions to the class as a “team.”

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