Task Card Series Can Boost Reading Skills

100 Task Cards: Text Evidence
100 Task Cards: Literary Text
100 Task Cards: Informational Text
By Scholastic Teaching Resources

(Scholastic, 2017 – Learn more)

Reviewed by Amber Bartlein

As a literacy coach, I often have teachers come to me in need of quick, easy-to-use resources to boost their students’ reading comprehension skills. The 100 Task Card series provides teachers with bite-sized articles and key questions aimed at helping build critical close reading skills in literary and informational text.

Each of the sets in the series is subtitled Reproducible Mini-Passages with Key Questions to Boost Reading Comprehension Skills. While the series is aimed at grades 4-6, the cards can easily be adapted for use with third graders and older middle schoolers.

Each task card includes a short passage and five key questions that focus on a specific reading skill such as cause/effect, character analysis, main ideas/details, and text evidence. In addition, the front matter of the book includes student friendly definitions of the concepts addressed in the book, and an answer key is provided making it easy to grade.

Practical Applications

Since I received these books after the school year ended, I asked my intermediate summer school teacher to try them out with her kids and give some feedback on ways they can be used throughout the year. The group of students consisted of three fifth graders, a third grader, and a middle schooler, all reading around the third and fourth grade reading level.

The teacher used the concept cards to teach a specific comprehension skill, and then the kids were provided a related passage and question set to glue into their reader’s notebook. This became either an entrance ticket assignment or an independent workstation during the class. After reading, answering, and then doing a short response, the kids discussed the passage and their answers, making corrections as needed.

Collectively, the students and teacher thought the resource was engaging and effective. When she talked with the students about the text selections, they indicated that “they liked them because they were quick and interesting stories.” The readings also created opportunities for discussion about each child’s personal reading preferences.

The classroom teacher found most of the questions effective in “really getting the kids to go back and prove their answers with text evidence.” She did note, however, that the final question of the sets needed to be more rigorous and she would revise those questions in the future.

The 100 Task Card series is set to become a staple in our classrooms this year for use during small group instruction, intervention and enrichment time, or to provide quick, focused practice on a specific skill whenever needed. We’ll tweak as necessary.

Amber Bartlein is a K-8 literacy coach and special education teacher. She has worked closely with districts to support the implementation of reading and writing workshops, high quality interventions, and differentiation for all students. She lives a busy life in Wisconsin with her husband and five children but enjoys finding time to keep learning each day.

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