Here’s a very simple thing – kind of a bail out move – to do after you’ve taught a story and done the (Step 3) reading. (I recommend using ROA – Reading Option A – as an excellent strategy for processing readings based on stories with your students.)
This suggested strategy is not an advocacy of writing at the lower levels, which in my opinion the students are not anywhere nearly ready to do except for a few free writes and regular dictées from time to time, but if we are forced to have our students write by people in our building who don’t get how and when writing emerges but yet to whom we have to answer, it’s not a bad plan and silences the occasional critic who thinks that if a kid isn’t writing they are learning (which could not be further from the truth).
It’s just a variation on dictée (see that category). It is almost identical to regular dictée really, except that you are basing the dictée on the (just finished) reading.
So, when the reading is over, just have the kids take out a paper and pencil and start reading, line by line, the reading that was created from the story. Add a few variations in the facts to keep the kids’ minds active.
1. read the first line from the reading, with a variation or two.
2. type it onto the screen.
3. they make the corrections as in regular dictée.
4. go sentence by sentence down the projected page.
Even if it is too early for them to seriously write, the fact that you are dictating from a story and the reading created from it (that’s usually at least two class periods worth of CI) has the result of really getting their minds engaged. It gives their minds a break from the rigorous listening and reading of the previous days and pulls them out of all of that unconscious processing (Steps 2 and 3 of TPRS) and deeper mind work into their conscious minds, where, when they are in school, they have learned to hang out and are most comfortable. Plus, when they have a pencil in their hands they think they are learning.