Jennifer Kelley
CTRD 3710
April 19, 2001
People to Read About, Places to Go (In Your Mind), and
Things to Remember
Rationale: The main purpose of reading is to comprehend, or learn. Even in fictional stories, a lesson is often learned. The characters and plot must be remembered so that the lesson will stick in a person's mind for a long time. In fourth grade this comprehension is especially important because if students begin learning how to remember what they have read in a fictional story, then when they have to read a non-fiction piece they will at least have some basis for summarizing this information. Comprehending can be done in several ways, but the one that I am choosing to discuss in this lesson is story-grammar training.

Materials: "Davidâs Father" by Robert Munsch (Annick Press Ltd.); five index cards for each student, pencils, paper; a copy of "The Borrowers" by Mary Norton (published by Odyssey/Hardcourt Brace Young Classic) for each student, five big index cards with string attached to be worn as a nametag

Procedure: 1. Class, I am so excited that you are such awesome readers! Not only can you read words quickly, but you know how to do it so that the book you are reading is interesting because of the way you use your voices. Today we are going to talk about how to remember what we read. Since we are starting to read history books and science books, it is very important that we remember what we read in these books because you take tests on that information. Instead of reading a textbook today, we are going to first practice remembering what we read using non-fiction books. We are going to use a special method to do this called "story-grammar training." The word training makes this method sound hard, but really all you have to do is answer five questions after reading a story. The five questions are: 1.)Who is the main character? 2.) Where and when did the story take place? 3.) What did the main characters do? 4.) How did the story end? and 5.) How did the main character feel? Letâs try to answer these questions using a story we all know in our heads, "Little Red Riding Hood." ( I will then tell the story. I will write the question: Who is the main character? on the board. We will all tell that the main character is Little Red Riding Hood because the story is mostly about her. The next question, Where and when did the story take place? will be answered by saying that it takes place during the day in the woods at the wolfâs house. As a class, we will then say that Little Red Riding Hood went to the woods on the way to Grandmotherâs house and ran into a wolf. She is then tricked into thinking that he is her grandmother. The story ends with Little Red Riding Hood being eaten by the wolf, so she must feel pretty badly!! Keep in mind that each of these questions and answers are written on the board by me.)

2. Since we just finished the book, "The Borrowers," we are going to do our first story-grammar training exercise using this story. Normally I will not give you a book this long to summarize, but since the whole class is doing it, you can all help each other out. I am going to divide you up into five groups. Each group is going to be assigned one of the five questions to answer as a group. Then you are going to pick one person from each group to stand in front of the class and answer the question. (I then hand out the five nametags to each group. I give each group a few minutes to answer their question, then everyone with a nametag comes to the front of the classroom. Each student then thoroughly answers their groupâs question so that the class can get a feel of how to completely answer each question.)

3. Great job! I hope that this exercise helped you see how to answer these questions to help you remember what you have read. You started with a really long book and summarized all of the important information so that the whole story is still understood, but in a lot less words. Now I would like for you all to practice this by yourselves. You are going to read the story "Davidâs Father" about a boy whose father is a giant. (Give very brief booktalk as not to give away many answers to the five questions. Hand out five notecards to each student.) Before you begin reading this story, I want you to take the five notecards that I handed out and write one of the five questions on each card. Then, I want you to put them aside and read the story. As you reading, be sure to be looking for the answers to each of these questions. However, be careful not to think about them too much and miss the fun story. This is the tricky part of reading for remembering, but I know that you can all do it!

4. Please trade your cards with a partner and compare your answers with theirs. (Give them ten minutes to discuss answers. Talk about correct answers to each question as a class by looking at students' notecards.) Okay, you all have had plenty of practice with reading for remembering, so now you are going to do it by yourselves. This time, you are going to read a story out of your literature books. (Find a short story with all of the elements needed to appropriately answer the five questions. The reason for using a textbook is that students need experience reading from something other than a storybook or chapter book.) I am going to write the five questions on the board and I would like for you to answer each of them in complete sentences on your piece of paper at your desk. (I will collect each studentâs paper when they are done to make sure they have grasped the concept of summarization. To grade, I will use the contents of the story and make sure that it matches the answers to the five questions that the students were asked to answer. I will be sure to use a uniform story so that each student has the same answers. I would continue to use this form of summarizing stories everytime we read a story. I would be sure to assess students individually from time to time to be certain that they still grasp the concept.)

Reference: "Strategies That Improve Childrenâs Memory and Comprehension of Text." Pressley, Johnson, Symons, McGoldrick, Kurita (1989). The Elementary School Journal, 90, p. 13.

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