Sticky Note Conversation!
I learned this from a coworker at a CRISS training day this year and it has been the best active reading strategy we have used at the 8th grade level. I like this because students do not have to go to a separate sheet of paper, and the information is tagged next to what they read. You can use this with any type of story and students will be held accountable while they read. It also is an instant discussion starter as everyone has something to share at the end of the reading.
Have students bring sticky notes (I prefer the standard 3x3 because you can cut them up) and divide them into three sections.
I like to cut them up because I usually end up giving out a ton of sticky notes if students forget. You can also have them cut up pieces of paper and put them in the book, but then they don't stick.
Tell students they are going to have a "conversation" with the story.
- ask questions
- make a connection to something in their life or tv/movies
- make a note about vocabulary words they do not know
- note setting, plot, characters, theme, etc...
- predict what will happen next
- show an emotional response to the text
- disagree with the author
- note use of literary elements
Students can do this individually or in partners. At the end of the story they can share with a small group or as part of a large group discussion. This is a great way to get all students to participate in a classroom discussion about the reading.