This week marks the beginning of a new comprehension unit focus, synthesizing information. As readers monitor for overall meaning of what they read the clue into important concepts and themes and their understanding of the story (among other elements) evolves in the process. This is called synthesis. I used the ripple in a pond metaphor to the class, and then read and synthesized the book Smoky Night by Eve Bunting. The purpose learning the language of synthesis is to support children in the process of understanding and making meaning from rich-text stories, like Smoky Night and others posted on our class bulletin board.
Students are also learning to retell what they have read as a way of synthesizing, and will learn how to extend the literal meaning of a text to the inferential level. For example, students will be able to share what is going on in the story as well as make meaning from understanding the character's actions, connections and story elements to draw conclusions that reveal the author's intent and purpose, which is often implied in rich-text stories.
Your can support your child's use of synthesis by reading a story aloud and pausing at certain points to ask her to share her thinking aloud.
Also, ask your child to "synthesize the story so far." This means, he should tell you what's important in the story so far - without telling to much but in a way that makes sense. Please contact me if you would like a book list of rich text stories - I'd be glad to provide several titles. Enjoy these rich literary conversations with your first grader.