Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word

Reading nonfiction. Close reading of nonfiction.

How do we annotate the text, look for patterns, and ask questions to engage deeply when reading?

Tracking content using imagery, color, word pictures and typography can change the way you understand information and also dramatically increase your level of knowledge and retention. (Brown, n. pag.)

How do we engage with and make meaning and connections from text? How might we notice and note the big ideas from a text to capture what speaks to us?

How do we show and share what we are thinking? What if we use the Sentence-Phrase-Word visible thinking routine as we read this summer?

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 7.14.20 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 7.25.04 PM

…the power and promise of this routine lies in the discussion of why a particular word, a single phrase, and a sentence stood out for each individual in the group as the catalyst for rich discussion. It is in these discussions that learners must justify their choices and explain what it was that spoke to them in each of their choices. (Ritchhart, 207 pag.)

What might we learn when we discuss what speaks to us?

Brown, Sunni. The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently. New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2014. Print.

Brown, Sunni. “VISUAL NOTE-TAKING 101 / PERSONAL INFODOODLING™.” Visual Thinking/Literacy/Gaming/Facilitation for a Smarter World. Sunni Brown, n.d. Web. 12 May 2015.

How to Do a Close Reading.” Harvard College Writing Center. Harvard Writing Project, n.d. Web. 12 May 2015.

Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.


  1. I love this, Jill. Frequently I try to generate questions pertaining to a text, but sometimes, it’s just as important for students to come at their own meaning without prompts. Sometimes that meaning is much more profound that responding to a pre-generated question. Thank you for this reminder!


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