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40 Best-practices
Instructional Strategies
Background: Sketch-to-Stretch is an instructional strategy developed by Harste, Short, & Burke, (1988). Students draw quick sketches to stretch their thinking and understanding of concepts. This technique can be used in a variety of ways.

Procedures: After reading a selection, students draw sketches that illustrate key ideas and details. Students present their drawings to explain how they made connections with the information revealed in the text.

Examples: After reading a description of the nesting habits of hummingbirds, students draw a sketch that shows how they visualized the details: the place a nest would be found, the size of a hummingbird’s nest, materials used to build the nest, the number of eggs in a nest, the color of eggs, and how parent(s) of baby hummingbirds take care of their young. Students can draw a series of sketches to reveal the development of baby hummers from egg to first flight.

1. As a pre-reading activity, Sketch-to-Stretch is a strategy that helps students connect with prior knowledge. Students sketch ideas that show what they know about a topic featured in an upcoming selection.
2. Invite students to write captions (words, phrases, or sentences) for sketches.
3. When students work in small groups, Sketch-to-Stretch can be used to illustrate a series of events. For example, each person in a group sketches a different phase in the life cycle of a monarch butterfly.

Reading Strategies: Activate Prior Knowledge, Build Vocabulary, Make Connections, Visualize Ideas, Identify Main Ideas and Details, Summarize and Synthesize Information


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