In this blog post, I introduce you to a new resource that helps students to synthesise across multiple texts. The reading comprehension skill of synthesising is important – let me tell you why!
What is Synthesising?
A reader who successfully synthesises content is able to “summarize the information, listen to their inner voice, and merge their thinking so that the information is meaningful to them. They connect the new to the known, they ask questions, they pick out the most important information” (Harvey and Goudvis, 2007, p. 180). By looking at a concept across a range of texts, students gain a deeper understanding and greater transfer.
Synthesising is an important skill to teach our students. Summarising is a lower-order thinking skill, but we need students to be able to do more than just retell a text.
When students synthesise, they:
- compare and contrast texts and ideas.
- evaluate texts and ideas.
- reflect on what they are reading.
With the rise of fake news, thinking critically about texts and reading widely about a topic is important. Students who can synthesise as they read are set up to be better critical readers and thinkers. They can evaluate texts and reflect on what they are reading and the quality of the information.
Our Sythesising Resource – Migrants and Movement
In our Migrants and Movements unit, students explore the groups of people who have moved to, and around New Zealand. Students explore this topic through reading a range of texts, guided by three big questions. By exploring this topic across a range of articles and stories, students gain a broader picture and context. Click here to learn more.
In this unit, students synthesise by:
- Reading a range of school journal articles, stories of poems about the experiences of migrants to Aotearoa New Zealand.
- Completing activities to help them understand each of the texts that they read.
- Answering the three big questions about each of the texts.
- Completing the synthesising chart to reflect on their new knowledge.
- Producing a “Show What You Know” final project to answer the three big questions.
At the completion of this Migrants and Movement unit, students will have:
- compared and contrasted texts and ideas.
- evaluated texts and ideas.
- reflected on what they have read.
- synthesised information across a range of texts.
The texts that are a part of this Migrants and Movement Unit include:
- The Polish Refugee Children: School Journal Level 2, November – 2016
- The Long Pause: School Journal Level 3, Connected, 2019
- Tupaia – Master Navigator: School Journal Level 3, August 2019
- Bright Fine Gold: School Journal Level 3, May 2015
- All As One: School Journal Level 3, November 2020
- Bok Choy: School Journal Level 3, May 2015
- New New Zealanders: School Journal Level 3, November 2017
- Alvin and Me: School Journal Level 3, May 2017
- My Name is Rez: School Journal Level 3, November 2017
- Explorers of the Sunrise School Journal Story Library
- Once a Panther School Journal Story Library
- Home Stories from New New Zealanders School Journal Story Library
- Chinese New ZealandersLevel 4, November 2019
- Rise Up – The Story of the Dawn Raids and the Polynesian Panthers: School Journal Level 4, November 2018
- Kei te Tāone Nui: Māori and the City (1945-1970): School Journal Level 4, May 2021
- Brave Flower: School Journal Level 4, November 2018
Everybody likes a freebie
A collaborative reading activity, sure to engage your sports-mad students. Using the information sheet and their own independent research (QR codes and additional web links are included), students present their learning about Richie McCaw. Use as an A4 poster or use the large poster pieces that make an A2 poster… and yes, it’s FREE. Click here to download this free resource today.
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