PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 1, Classes 101 & 102, Reading & Writing Update

Hello Families,

We look forward to seeing you Thursday afternoon for our holiday/Winter celebration. We will begin at 1:30ish. (Note about the time change – 101 will not have art so that we may start earlier. Thanks. And sorry for any confusion!)

Here’s an update about what’s happening in grade 1!


As we continue to deepen our talk about books (in preparation for a later unit: Book Clubs!!), here are some of the talking points that first graders are using when reading with their “just right” partners. **These also serve as great questions and guidelines for YOU to use when reading at home.**

It is critical that students read for at least 15/20 minutes at home each night!

How can we use partner talk to help us do deep thinking about books?

What can partners talk about? 

  • Talk about what’s happening and why.
  • Talk about the characters.
  • Ask each other questions.
  • Talk about the plot.
  • Talk about the feelings. Which character is feeling a certain way? Why?
  • Talk about story elements. (problem/solution, setting, characters, plot)

What questions can you ask your partner?

  • What’s happening on this page?
  • What do you notice?  What does it make you think?
  • What are you feeling?
  • What do you know about this character?  How do you know it?   



Our unit began with an inquiry: What do you have an opinion about?  (Toys, animals/pets, school, etc.) We wanted students to think! Next, we moved on to having students think about what reasons they had to support their opinions. 

Ex: Mrs.Cintula thinks that Wyatt needs to sleep more at night (without waking up) because it will help him grow… and she is very tired.


Questions that we have, and will continue to, ask/pose with both classes:

  • What do you want to change? (opinion)
  • Why? (reasons)
  • Who do you need to talk to? (audience)
  • How are you going to do it? (purpose)

Currently, students are brainstorming and planning some of their opinion pieces and writing letters to the appropriate audience. **You might be getting some letters soon, families!** =)