Golden Lines is a routine that asks students to note or highlight “golden lines”—lines or short passages from a text that are particularly meaningful to the student for some reason. This is a protocol you can use with any text you want students to read.
What it’s good for:
Creating a low-risk way for all students to access to text and participate in activities
Focusing attention on crucial parts of a text
Making personal connections to a text
Assessing students’ interests and understanding
Looking for patterns/tendencies in a class as a whole
STEP ONE: Set a focus for reading
Participation structure: Individual
It’s important for students to know what they should be highlighting. The focus you set depends upon your reasons for asking students to read the text.
Some possibilities for highlighting:
- Anything that seems particularly important (for whatever reason the student chooses)
- Anything that seems particularly important to know/understand about _____________
- Anything that you don’t understand (or don’t understand about ____________)
- Anything that you really disagree with
- Let students know how they might/should be reading (quick-read, careful read, etc.).
- Let students know how much time they’ll have to read.
STEP TWO: Students read
Participation Structure: Individual
Be sure to have some way for students to mark their Golden Lines. If it’s a text they can write on, highlighters can be helpful. If they can’t write on the text, some kind of note-taking sheet will work. You might also use sticky notes.
STEP THREE: Sharing
Participation Structure: Varies; you can use pairs, small groups, or whole-group sharing
You’ll want some way of knowing what students chose as their golden lines. If you do whole-group sharing, consider ways of making sure that you hear varied voices/perspectives. You might use Whip Around, numbered sticks, or some other method of making sure you hear from many students in a quick time.
You’ll probably want students to share what they highlighted and then explain why they highlighted it.