Comprehend that Reading!!
Reading to Learn
Rachel Williams

Rationale:  When children learn how to read silently it is important for them to practice.  Not only is it important for them to practice reading silently, but it is also important for the children to comprehend what they are reading.  This lesson will show children different strategies of how to understand what they are reading.  It will also show them how to work together and discuss in groups what they have read and if they have comprehended it.

Materials:  red, green, blue and yellow index cards that have the different group jobs written on them (Wow Words, Director of discussion, Favorite part, and Summarizer), chalk, chalkboard, a passage from Mrs. Toggle’s Beautiful Blue Shoe by Robin Pulver, and age appropriate novel such as Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Clearly (classroom set).

1. The teacher will review the children on silent reading by talking about it with them.  “Boys and girls, does everyone remember how to read silently?  Who can tell me why it is so important to read silently?  That’s right you can read at your own speed, and you can even look up words in the dictionary if you need help understanding them.  Today we are going to get into groups and learn how we can understand what we read when we read silently.”
2. Have a paragraph or passage from Mrs. Toggle’s Beautiful Shoe that the children have read before written on the board.  “’Mr. Stickler,’ said Mrs. Toggle, ‘I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you are being ridiculous.  My shoe can’t smell, and I have never known it to be hungry.’  ‘There’s a first time for everything,’ said Mr. Stickler, ‘Why don’t you go to the cafeteria?  Ask Mrs. Burns to cook up something special for your shoe.’  So Mrs. Toggle and the children trooped into the cafeteria.  They found the cook, Mrs. Burns, chopping onions for stew.”  “Boys and girls, I want each of you to read this passage silently.  When you are done, I want you to raise your hand so I will know when everyone is finished.”  When each child is finished reading, read it aloud to make sure that everyone read it correctly.  There will be groups of eight, and each child in the group will have a partner.  Each pair will get a different color index card that has a job on it.  They will work on the job together.  After everyone has read the passage on the board, the teacher will need to model each job.  “Boys and girls, I am going to give you and your partner in your group a different color card.  If you get a red card, your job will be the summarizer.  When you summarize a book or passage, you tell what happened, but you retell it in your own words.  For example, if I was the summarizer, I would say that Mrs. Toggle thought Mr. Stickler was acting crazy because he thought her shoe could smell and eat.  Then I would give examples of why Mrs. Toggle thought this.”  The teacher would then model the other jobs (Wow words, Director of discussion, and Favorite part).  If the group gets the yellow card, they have wow words.  Their job is to pick out words that are difficult, funny, or unique to them.  They will discuss with their group why these words were unique.  The green card is for the Director.  They pick which job goes first in the group.  When everyone is finished, the director reads out three or four questions about the book to ask the entire group to answer.  The group with the blue card will have favorite part.  It is there job to share with the whole group what their favorite part of the story was.  When the whole group is done, they can swap cards so each person has a chance to do each job.
3. When the teacher is done modeling the group job by using the passage on the board, he/she will have children read a chapter or half a chapter (depending on time) of Dear Mr. Henshaw.  When they are done reading silently, they can begin their discussion groups.  If time doesn’t permit for children to swap jobs, they can swap the next day.  They can repeat this activity each day until the book is finished.
4. For assessment, each child can read one chapter of the book alone, and when they are done reading, they can write down each job and what each job does.  Then, the children can do each job on paper individually rather than out loud in a group.  Have children read what they wrote.  By doing this, the child is being assessed on the comprehension of what they are reading as well as what they are supposed to do with each job.

References:  Cindy Miller, Troy Elementary School, Troy, AL. 4th grade, 1999.

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