Emily Lima

Post-Reading Strategy

Save the Last Word for Me

Example: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Save the Last Word for me is a discussion strategy where students form groups and compare his or her interpretations to others’. Each student selects several passages from the text and writes each one on a note card. On the back of the card, the student writes his reaction to the passage. The student shares his passages to the group, and group members share their thoughts about each one. Then, the student gets the last word -- he says his thoughts about the passage last. This strategy helps students see that the reader recreates meaning as she reads, as well as shows students what others think compared to themselves.

Steps to Save the Last Word for Me:

Students choose three or four passages from the text that stand out to them. Students should write the passage and page number on the front of their note cards. On the back of the card, students should write a comment: a question, a connection with something in their own lives, an explanation of why the statement is important, or why they disagree with it, etc.

We are reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. For Act I of the play, students pick out four passages that they had a reaction to of some sort. Students write down their passages, page and line numbers, and comments.

When students finish with the reading assignment and the cards, they should organize them according to which seems most important, or most worth sharing. That way, if someone else chooses to read the same passage, each student still has several back-ups.

Students pick their top two cards and share each with their group mates. If someone else chooses the same passage, they should read a back-up choice. Ultimately, no one should repeat a passage.

Circulate among the groups as they share, to see how they’re doing and what ideas they’re focusing on.

Teacher moves around the room, listening in on discussions.

(Activity adapted from Harvey Daniels and Steven Zemelman’s Subjects Matter)