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The White Fox / During Reading / /

The Day the Fox Came

Reading chapter one using echo reading to support fluency.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from The White Fox series

Required reading: Pages 1-8

Text potential

  • Language features: Punctuation: commas (listing)

Strategies used

  • Read Aloud

Purpose

Pupils will benefit from having the opening chapter of The White Fox read aloud to them without the distraction of having to follow the text or looking at the images. Indeed the first image might inhibit their initial understanding and building of the story schema, but it will add to the depth of comprehension, on a second or third reading. The story is lyrical and rhythmic. An expressive, experienced reader will provide a model that helps children absorb this patterned language and, at the same time, draws out the salient meaning.

This lesson is particularly suitable for children who need experience of attuning the ear to reading.

Preparation

  • A teacher’s copy of The White Fox.
  • Copies of The White Fox, at least one between two.
  • An expressive reading with thoughtful pauses will help communicate meaning. Prepare and practice so that you read fluently and expressively.

Process

Briefly introduce the story.

Read chapter one aloud. Then allow a short time for silent reflection.

Ask a question to assess the pupils’ literal understanding. It will be most useful if the initial question is a broad one rather than moving too quickly to check memory of the details.

  • What do you know about Sol?

Explain to the class that to help them develop a sense of the narration and the language,  you are going to use echo reading. Distribute copies of the book. Read page one aloud, asking the children to follow as you read. When you have finished the page, draw attention to some features that you needed to consider when reading:

  • There is a mix of short and long sentences.  Can you find a long sentence? Can you find a short sentence?
  • Some sentences contain commas. Can you find a sentence with commas?

Re-read this sentence:

It was a white fox, a wild thing, alone in the city, just like him.’

Ask the children to read it aloud to a partner. 

  • What effect do the commas have on your reading?
  • Can you read this quickly or is it designed to be read more slowly? 

Repeat with:

He had his father. But his father was always busy. 

  • Why do you think the author chose to write two short sentences here? 
  • What impact does it have on you as a reader?
  • What effect does it have on the flow of the story?

Now re-read page one. This time the class should echo your reading. It is essential that the children read the page and do not memorise it, so increase the length of text that you read once the children have the idea. Repeat with page 2, then page 3. 

Finally, ask the pairs to read aloud to the end of chapter one. They should read a sentence each, continuing to support each other with tricky parts. Swap roles and repeat. 

Ask each pair to choose the page they feel most confident to read aloud to another couple.  

Final reflection

  • Can you find a sentence that you found more challenging to read aloud?
  • What made this sentence more tricky?
  • How has echo reading supported you today? 

Key vocabulary

echo, repeat, expressive, expression, comma

Contributors

Sam Keeley

Formerly a teacher and local authority advisory teacher, Sam now works with Just Imagine as an English consultant and manager of the year 6 Reading Gladiators programme.

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