I love using the click and clunk strategy! It has worked so well to help my struggling readers slow down and try to make sense of what they are reading.
I thought long and hard before introducing this to my students. In general, I try to avoid strategies that muck around too much with basic reading--I don't want kids to have to think about fifteen different things at once. But the click and clunk strategy really doesn't require very much explanation. If you understand an idea, it "clicks". If you don't, it "clunks". Easy!
More on clicks and clunks
Collaborative Strategic Reading (includes clicks and clunks)
Catalyst Article (click on the "Literacy Project" image on the right; the article is on page 27)
At least, it's easy with nonfiction. It's been my experience as a reader of nonfiction that I need to keep close tabs on my comprehension, even at the sentence level. In nonfiction, I need to be sure that I am understanding every sentence as I go along. My readers did well with marking clicks and clunks in nonfiction text.
But when I read fiction, sometimes I need to let those "clunks" slide. Authors of fiction often try to keep some information hidden. There are often little details that don't fit. Readers have to notice these, and set them aside, trusting in the author to make everything work out by the end. This is tricky for struggling readers. They don't know when to deal with a clunk and when to let it slide.
So what can I do to help my fourth graders to find success? They are working toward more complex text, more stories that have complicated sequences, unreliable narrators, and tricky mysteries. I decided to make a simple graphic to show students how they can use those clunks as opportunities--to reread, to solve a word, or to change their mental models.
The kids seem to like it, and we've used it together several times.
Of course, it's good to have a collection of stories that might cause students to feel this shift in their mental models. Here are some good possibilities.
"The Open Window" by Saki
This short story appears in many anthologies, and you might even be able to find a version floating around the web. I like how it packs a great deal into a short space! There is a moment in the story that feels quite creepy, but then everything shifts as the reader realizes that all is not as it seems.
First Day Jitters
The two fabulous new teachers that I work with shared this on the first day of school! It's an easy book, but it clearly shows how a reader might need to make some accommodations to deal with new information.
Waiting for a White Knight
This short story from Cricket magazine is another good one for exploring how readers need to change their mental models. There will definitely be a few sentences that clunk as students work their way to figuring out what is really going on. (You may be able to read this on EBSCO through your local, school, or college library.)
The Magic Thief
I'm trying this as a read aloud with my students. The narrator tells the truth, but he doesn't tell the whole truth. As a result, there are little bits here and there that add up to a bigger story. The book is also full of figurative language, like personification and similes.
Do you have any other stories that help readers to build mental models and think about their clicks and clunks? Please share them!