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Synthesizing Putting the Pieces Together What Exactly Is Synthesizing? Synthesis is about organizing the different pieces to create a beautiful mosaic, a meaning ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Synthesizing

  • Putting the Pieces Together

What Exactly Is Synthesizing?
Synthesis is about organizing the different
pieces to create a beautiful mosaic, a meaning,
a beauty, greater than the sum of each shiny
piece. Ellin Keene
Synthesis is a matter of seeing how the
details fit together to draw a conclusion, how
the details solve a mystery, or how they bring
characters (and readers) to a new understanding.
Synthesis involves an aha moment,when, all of a
sudden, everything becomes clear.
Nancy Boyles

or simply put
Synthesizing is like putting a puzzle together.
You have to sort out your thinking and put it in
the right place. Clay
Synthesis is like throwing a rock into a pond
first theres the splash, and then the water
ripples out, making little waves that get bigger
and bigger.
Ellin Keene
Synthesizing is like baking a cakeall the
different parts mixed together become a whole new
thing.David Harris, Strategies That Work
Why do we need to put the pieces together anyway?
In order to construct any kind of meaning in
our literacy learning and our life learning, we
must find ways to cull and prune the details with
which we are bombarded. We must reorganize and
create our own explanations for what we are
learning, our own definitions of our lives at any
particular juncture.
Ellin Keene
We teach the children to take what they read
  • Look for important issues, themes, and ideas
  • Ask questions
  • Create images, relate what they read to prior
  • Draw conclusions
  • Make judgments
  • Predict

The key is then keeping track of what it all
Lets Try Our Hand at Synthesizing!
  1. Read the excerpt from The Cay that is found on
    the overhead.
  2. Record your thoughts on paper.
  3. Read the next part and record your thoughts now.
  4. Read the last part and record your final
  5. How did your thinking change as you read?
  6. What strategies did you use to understand the

How do we teach the students which piece goes
Teaching synthesis is a challenge. It requires
more think-aloud modeling on the teachers part,
and more conferences focused on helping children
think aloud than other comprehension
Ellin Keene
2. Begin a study on synthesis by helping students
to see how readers monitor overall meaning,
important concepts, and themes as they read,
understanding that their thinking evolves in the
3. As you read, model stopping now and then to
consider what is important to remember.
Distinguish between facts that are interesting
and those that are important.
Your goal is to get the reader engaged.
4. Help students to learn to retell the most
important parts of a story.
  • Tell whats important
  • in a way that makes sense,
  • without telling too much.

Gradually release responsibility
  • Stop now and then to ask the students to get with
    partners to synthesize the text so far, then
    collaborate and chart the students thoughts.
  • Ask students to read independently for five or
    ten minutes, then stop and find a partner and
    retell in their own words.
  • Ask students who are reading the same text to
    synthesize it when they finish, then get together
    and compare thinking.

  • Debbie Miller

5. Have students create a simple summary. In
fiction this might be meeting the characters,
figuring out where the story took place, and
determining the plot.
Dont Get the
Pieces Confused!!
Synopsizing vs. Summarizing
  • Dont let students become victims of the and
    then he syndrome!
  • Students need to understand that summarizing is
    a strategy that allows us to categorize and
    classify the information gathered as readers,
    sorting out significant ideas, events, and other
    pieces of information.
  • When reading a long piece, the reader needs to
    pause and regroup every so often, making notes as

Summarizing vs. Synthesizing
  • Summarizing is identifying key points and
    organizing thoughts, a listing of the parts.
    Summarizing usually occurs at the end.
  • Synthesizing is the creation of a whole. It goes
    on throughout the process of readingnot just at
    the end. It is bringing together different ideas
    and facts and weaving them together into a
    tapestry, something much larger than all the

  • Ellin Keene

Summarizing is part of synthesis. You
cant synthesize if you dont know how to
summarize. Summarizing is the act of briefly
presenting the main point. When teaching
summary, teachers should encourage readers to
retell information by including important ideas
but not telling too much.
Stephanie Harvey
6. Have students capitalize on opportunities to
share, recommend, and criticize books they have
7. Have students extend their synthesis of the
literal meaning of a text to the inferential
  • Clues Along the Way
  • The teacher should provide opportunities for the
    students to stop at certain points in the reading
    to write down their thoughts.
  • Fables are great texts to use when beginning this

Consider having students bring in a current
article each week. Ask the them to read the
article, tape it to a notebook page, and write a
brief synthesis that includes their own take on
the article.Stephanie Harvey, Nonfiction Matters
The Pieces Will Only Fit Together If
The process of synthesizing occurs during reading
when proficient readers
  • monitor the overall meaning, important concepts
    and themes in the text, and are aware of text
  • are aware of text elements and patterns in
    fiction and nonfiction, helping them predict and
    understand the overall meanings or themes.

Also during reading, proficient readers should
  • attend to character, setting, conflict, sequence
    of events, resolution, and theme in fiction, and
    text patterns such as description, chronological,
    cause and effect, comparison/contrast, and
    problem/solution in nonfiction. They use this
    knowledge to make overall decisions about the
    meaning of a text.
  • revise their cognitive syntheses as they read.

The process of synthesizing occurs after reading
when proficient readers
  • use synthesis to share, recommend, and critically
    review books they have read.
  • purposefully use synthesis to better understand
    what they have read.
  • are able to express, through a variety of means,
    a synthesis of what they have read, including
    ideas and themes relevant to the overall meaning
    from the text.

How do we prompt the students as they try to get
the pieces to fit?
  • In just a few sentences, describe this text as if
    you are discussing it with someone who has never
    read it.
  • If you were explaining this story to a younger
    child, what would you say?
  • At what point did you say to yourself, AHA, now
    I get it!?
  • What strategies helped you to figure out the
    meaning of the text?

  • What do you think might be on a test about this
  • Did this reading change or confirm what you
    thought about _______? Explain.
  • How did you go about figuring this out?
  • Imagine that you are giving a talk to your class
    about ________. Using information from the text,
    write two ideas you should use in this speech.
  • Can you show me a place in the text where your
    thinking changed?
  • Do you have some new ideas or information?

What tools can help put the pieces together?
Learning Strategies
  • Written response to literature
  • - Charting thinking records
  • - Post-it notes
  • - Double entry journals
  • - Letters to other readers and writers
  • - Quick write
  • - Timelines
  • Oral responses
  • - Four way share
  • - Think-pair-share
  • - Book clubs
  • - Strategy study groups
    Keene, 2001

Main Ideas Details Lingering Thoughts

Opinion Before Reading New Response

Facts Questions Responses

Quote or picture from text New ideas

Content (Facts) Process (Thinking) Craft (Writing)
63 moons and climbing Two new moons are circling Uranus Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun. Moonstruck means obsessed (inferring) 63 means number of moons, maybe there are more Just a question to clarify. Are satellites and moons the same thing? Wow! When it said littering the starry skies, they were very strong words that painted a picture in my mind. When the lead asks a question, it pulls you into the article.
Title Characters Setting Plot Beyond the
literal interpretation question Possible
answers Synthesis
What Does the Finished Product Look Like?
When readers put all of the pieces together, they
  • identify the essential story line and ask, What
    does it all mean to me?.
  • generate questions, apply background knowledge,
    and discuss it with others.

Through the process of synthesizing, their
thinking deepens and their understanding grows.
You know that students have mastered synthesizing
when,just as they manipulate hundreds of puzzle
pieces to form a new picture, they can arrange
fragments of information until they see a new
pattern take shape.
Stephanie Harvey
Guiding to Completion
. Booth, David and Larry Swartz. Literacy
Techniques. Ontario, Canada Pembroke
Publishers Limited, 2004 Boyles, Nancy N.
Constructing Meaning Through Kid-Friendly
Comprehension Strategy Instruction. Gainesville,
FL Maupin House, 2004. Harvey, Stephanie.
Nonfiction Matters. Portland, Maine Stenhouse
Publishers,1998. Harvey, Stephanie and Anne
Goudvis. Strategies That Work Teaching
Comprehension to Enhance Understanding. York,
MEStenhouse Publishers, 2000.
Keene, Ellin and Susan Zimmerman. Mosaic of
Thought Teaching Comprehension in a
Readers Workshop. Portsmouth, NH Heinmann,
1997. Miller, Debbie. Reading with Meaning.
Portland, Maine Stenhouse Publishers,
Zimmerman, Susan and Chryse Hutchins. 7 Keys to
Comprehension How to Help Your Kids Read It
and Get It! New York, NY Three Rivers
Press, 2003.