Reading Strategy File Folders!

Hello! It's Amy over from Eclectic Educating again! Today's post is just a  little explanation of one of my favorite activities from the amazing Debbie Miller. Is anyone else out there completely in awe of the wonderful Debbie Miller? I had the privilege of seeing her speak at a conference my first year teaching and loved every minute of her session. We studied her book Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades in great detail in my college classes.

I really love how she gradually fosters independence in her students with the key reading strategies. My post today focuses on an idea found in her second book Teaching with Intention. The activity is very simple, but my students loved it!

The first thing you need is some file folders. (I thought purple added a little flair!) Using a permanent marker, I divided the file folder into four sections: 

              1. What we think we know
              2. New Learning
              3. Questions
              4. Misconceptions

After I finished labeling the different sections, I laminated all of the file folders, for durability. In her activity, Debbie Miller used full sized post-its, but I found that the mini post-its worked better for my students. 

This activity works well for most nonfiction texts. To begin, I have my students record what they think they know on post-its. We label it as what we think we know because sometimes students have misconceptions about a topic. If we find this to be the case, we simply move the post-it to the misconception section later on. 

Then, students write questions they have about the topic. We also pause throughout the reading to add more questions. When we are pausing, we also add information to the new learning section. As we go along, we move any post-its that turned out to be misconceptions. (Sorry for the glare!)

I found that this activity really got my students to focus on their own thinking during their reading. They also were really excited to use file folders and post-its. It's the simple things right? Some of my favorite texts to use for this activity are articles from Ranger Rick  magazine. 

Thanks for another hit Debbie Miller! Is anyone else out there a huge Debbie Miller fan? If not, who do you admire?


  1. Thanks for sharing! As the year comes to an end, we have begun thinking about next years Professional Development Plan and my administrator and I were just talking about using Debbie Miller. :)

  2. Ooh, I love how concrete this is! I think it would really motivate my students to pull specific facts out of the text if they got to write it on the Post-It notes, and I love the idea of having them categorize their learning and have to consider moving it, too! It's such a good way to teach them the critical thinking in a hands-on way. Thanks!


  3. I was fortunate enough to spend a day with Debbie Miller at a workshop and she shared so many wonderful things. Our second grade teacher uses this on a large chart in her large group teaching area and the kids love it!

  4. I'm making those folders tonight! Can't wait to use them! :)