Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
Coding is a response-based strategy that requires students to mark down their reactions to reading. This can be done very simply. For example, a check mark might denote important information, while a question mark might call attention to confusing or difficult passages. When these codes are used to organize multiple, lengthy, or difficult texts, they help students to organize the full range of their reactions, and to focus on the key issues and questions in their reading.
To use coding effectively, teachers should request that students read through the text several times. As they read, ask them to put a check mark next to information that interests them, a plus sign next to information that is new to them, and a question mark next to information that is confusing or unclear for them. Then, ask students to go back and look for all of their code notes, so that they can organize the text through these codes. By doing this, students can draw together all the aspects of a text that are most interesting to them, as well as those that are new and those that they do not yet understand.
Since coding is a response-based strategy, it helps students to organize and reflect on their reactions to texts. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the new information, for example, students are able to label and lay aside the more confusing pieces for later consideration. Once students have finished reading, the codes left in their texts provide an invaluable map to their own interests and concerns; students will begin to see what questions regularly engage them, and what issues often confuse them.