Reading Comprehension and Digging Deeper

I’ve mentioned before that Karis is on an 8th grade reading level (at least she was when she left school in March).

She loves reading and that’s fantastic, but I want her to think critically and dig deep into the books.  I also want to expand her vocabulary.

I have so many ways for her to do that!

Teachers Pay Teachers has so many fantastic novel studies.  I love The Book Umbrella the most!

Starting next week she will be doing a novel study on Ella Enchanted (we have this book from the library).

In addition to novel studies, I will have her use different forms of reading response questions to answer in her reading response journal.  These will be on books of her choice.  She has to answer them in a paragraph with text evidence (4-6 sentences).

I will also have her read some non-fiction/informational books and respond to those.

We will learn about figurative language.

We will use reading menus with prompts and a rubric to grade.

And lastly I will teach skills and strategies and have her respond to them using a sentence starter (also in a paragraph).  These are a few examples:

I will use this rubric to grade all reading response:

The books that I will be having her study are on my homeschooling page above.     In addition to the books that I will have her study, I will give her plenty of time to read for enjoyment.  We will study one novel a month along with one novel to go with our history, and the rest will be books of her own choosing.

Comprehension Skill: Making Inferences

Earlier, I wrote a post about comprehension strategies and skills… the differences and similarities and a list of each.

Next week I will be focusing on the comprehension skill of making inferences (also known as inferring or inferencing).

In simple terms, this is the text evidence plus background knowledge.

TE + BK = I

When an inference is made, it may or may not be answered.  This is different from a prediction because this is a guess that will eventually be answered. A prediction is also a continuation of sequence… what will happen next.  An inference focuses on characters’ feelings, why things happened, and what is happening.  This is what the author did not tell you: “reading between the lines.”  Inferences are constantly made while reading and in life but people don’t put a word to it usually.

Yesterday, I created an anchor chart with sentence starters for her to us to respond to her reading in a paragraph in her reading response journal.

The first book that I will use is actually a book with no words.  I love this book.  It is a “story” from the underground railroad.  There is a background of this in the back of the book that I will read to her first (we haven’t really studied this yet).  Through a series of pictures, we figure out that this girl helps a black person in the underground railroad.  It takes a while to come to this understanding.  Lots of inferences are made throughout.

How Many Days to America is the story of a group of families that escapes the Caribbean to find safety in America.  This book would also be great for making connections because of what is going on in the world.  I love this book so much.  Inferences can be made throughout for understanding of the text.

Cheyenne Again is about a Native American boy that is taken from his family and made to become like the white people.  This book is also great for teaching theme, which I will do eventually.

Smoky Night is about a family (single mom and her son) in the midst of riots in California.

Notice that 3 out of 4 of these picture books are Eve Bunting books.  She is my favorite children’s author.  She writes about the “hard stuff.”

After the lesson is taught using the picture book, Karis will spend about 30-45 minutes reading Esperanza Rising and she will use sticky notes to mark the inferences that she made.  She will then use the sentence starters to write a paragraph about the inferences that she made.  Esperanza Rising is about a family that is taken from luxury in Mexico to working on a farm in the United States.  It relates well to the picture books that I read throughout the week.

We will also use Esperanza Rising for dictation and copywork as well as to teach some grammar and vocabulary through it using Bravewriter’s The Arrow lessons.

Coming Up: Week of 3/27-3/31

This coming week we won’t be doing school Monday because we will be in town most of the day, and Tuesday we will be in town in the morning so we will do just the basics.

Morning time will consist of:


Bible study Genesis chapters 5-6 and mom/daughter devotional.


Learning about William Shakespeare

Fine arts 

Artist study: Getting to Know the World’s Greatest ArtistsPablo Picasso


For geography we will be studying the continent of Africa.

We will spend 5-20 minutes on each.


For spelling we will do All About Spelling Level 2, Step 1: Review.  This reviews what was taught in Level 1, which we did not do.  This step is very necessary to move forward.  We will not use letter tiles like the lessons state because that would just drive her crazy!  We’ll do everything in a composition notebook.

For reading she will read The Devil’s Arithmetic chapters 1-3, do vocabulary, and answer questions.  I love these units!  I have so many more coming up!

I will also have her read something of her choosing for independent reading time (3 chapters will take her like 15 minutes… she loves to read so she’ll need more).

For writing we will do Week 2 of Writing with Ease Level 4.  The excerpts to narrate and dictations are from A Little History of the World by EH Gombrich.

Math will be Math U See Delta, lesson 1 A-F and Test (we are moving through this fast because I went backwards to fill in some gaps). Tuesday she will do A & B, Wednesday C & D, Thursday E & F, and Friday will be the test.

Grammar will be Easy Grammar 6 and Daily Grams 6.  I haven’t received these yet so I don’t know what it covers.  We’ll just go in order.

Art will be creating art like Picasso.

Science will be Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy Lesson 3: Mercury.  We will receive her notebooking journal from Rainbow Resource on Monday.  We will study lesson 3 for 2 weeks since we only have 3 days this coming week.

History will be Story of the World chapter 2: “Egyptians Lived on the Nile River.”

Shakespeare Unit: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

We will begin Shakespeare by learning about him and his life, then we will be studying the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Here’s another video about him: Brain Pop William Shakespeare

We will begin by watching a “Shakespeare Lives” video of the play.

Then we will read A Midsummer Night’s Dream out of this book (Kindle book):

After we’ve read it out of the children’s book, we will read:

After all of the readings, we will do a packet of activities and questions.

I will then let her choose an extension activity or two.

We will finish reading watching the animated version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

We will then fill out this interactive notebook kit!

My plan is to do this for the month of April, but it may not take that long.

I’m looking forward to getting started!