Thinking Caps for Comprehension

Jean Hawkins

Growing Independence and Fluency


 Rationale: The main goal for reading is comprehension which can only be done if words are processed automatically. Fluent readers read smoothy, automatically, and with expressioin. In order for students to understand what they read they must first gain fluency. The purpose of this lesson is for students to become motivated readers who will voluntarily choose to read throughout their lives and to allow them the tools they need in comprehension. By giving them the choice of two books to re-read and modeling how fluent reading looks/sounds like , filling out comprehension organizers, and re-telling events to their calssmates students will have a better understanding of why fluent reading is so important and how they can become skilled readers.


*thinking caps (made by children)

*graphic organizers (including my transparent copy or on the SMARTboard)

*numerous copies of “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!” and “Green Eggs and Ham”


*sample page of “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think”

*poster board with fluency reminders


1.) I will explain to the whole class that fluency is a term used for readers who can read fast, smooth and with expression (meaning that they know what they are reading). “As you complete today’s activities I want you to look at the fluency poster at the front of the class to ask yourselves these questions: Am I reading quickly? Am I reading smoothly? and Am I reading with expression”If you are then you are a fluent reader! “Today we are going to do a few activities to help us become fluent readers so that we can choose books to read on our own whether we are at home or at school.” Today, we are going to practice reading stories by Dr. Seuss.


2.) Before we begin, I want you tell me if I am reading these few sentences fluently. I will read from a page in “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!” by Dr. Seuss Reading: “There are so many THINKS that a Thinker can think! Would you dare yank a tooth of the RINK-RINKER-FINK?” I will first read this page without much excitement and slowly (decoding and stopping phoneme by phoneme)and also without using the question mark and exclamation mark to guide in my expression. Then, I will ask students if I read with or without expression. After picking on a raised hand, I will demonstrate fluency by reading the sentence again with lots of excitement and wonder in my voice.

Then I will ask “How do we know whether we are reading a sentence correctly?” “Remember to ask yourself if something you read makes sense before moving on, skilled readers read to understand and sometimes it is hard to understand if we aren’t reading quickly!


3.) I will then explain that they can pick from two choices, either: “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!” or “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss. “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think” is a story that Dr. Seuss wrote to his readers about all the many things you can think! He says that you could think many amazing things like a “guff walking by” or a “Beautiful shlopp”. To find out more about these silly words and to discover all that you can think you should read “Oh the, Thinks You Can Think!”.

In Dr. Seuss’ book titled “Green Eggs in Ham” Sam tries everything he can do to get his friend to try some Green Eggs in Ham. He thinks they are the most delicious meal, but his unnamed friend is not so sure. Find out if  Sam ever convinces his friend to try green eggs in ham. In “Green Eggs in Ham”.


4.) There is a stack of books of “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!” on the left side of the room and a stack of “Green Eggs and Ham” on the righht side. Once you decide what story you would like to read, read it to yourself once trying to decide how you could explain your book.


5.) Then, I will pair them into groups of 2 or 3 depending on how many have chosen which book. “Once you have a partner, I want you to read together the story again. Read the words together so you can stay on the same line and page. After reading the story together. I would like you to discuss what you learned from the story. “I will be walking around to ask you questions to see what you and your partner discovered. I am very interested to see what each group understood from the story! Not everyone has to have the same answers because we are all different”.


6.) “Now that you have practiced reading your story twice and discussed with your partner what you discovered about the book you chose, decide whether or not you would recommend or not recommend this story to those of your classmates who chose to read something else and why”.


7.) I will then use a familiar story that we have read in class to fill out a web of the main idea and details to support the idea. I will explain that sometimes it helps to “map” out what we have read so that we can remember what we learned or so that we can share with others.


8.)“Use the web to put the main idea of what your story was about in the middle rectangle and details of what you want to say to your classmates that have not read your story on the surrounding rectangles.After you discuss and fill out your webs, come to the front so I know you are ready to share.”


9.) Before sharing I will give the children who are speaking a thinking cap that they would have made at the beginning of the week that says “fluent reader” somewhere on it. After each group shares what they discovered in their book, I will collect their graphic organizers for assessment. (not as a grade, but so that I have an idea of what they learned)


Assessments: I will assess child’s comprehension informally by their oral responses to questions as well as their review to the class.These quetsions include the following:

-How did you what the main idea of the story was?

-What clues led you to discover this?

-Can you make a prediction of what could happen next?

I will also collect their graphic organizers.(Details Tree)



8.) References:

“Book Worms!” by Callie White



Dr. Seuss (1975) “Oh, The Things You Can Think”. Dr. Seuss Enterprises


Dr. Seuss (1960) “Green Eggs and Ham”. Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

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