Christi Treadwell
Reading to Learn

Making Sense of What We Read

Rationale:  Children should have a time set aside each and every day for reading practice.  A great way to practice reading is silently. Before students read silently they should be reminded of the strategies they need to demonstrate when reading for meaning.  Nearing exit of elementary school, children must be able to summarize.  Children need to be able comprehend and store information in their brain for many subjects.  Summarization is one of the many skills that children must possess while reading expository texts.  For many children comprehension is a strategy that doesnât come easy, therefore it is the teacherâs role to teach and model as best possible.

Materials:  paper, pencil or pen, Addison Wesley Science Textbook- ãWeather,ä 4th Grade, Charles Barman. pg. 65-71.

Procedures:  1.  ãOpen your science textbook and turn to Lesson 6. This lesson should be entitled ÎWeatherâ which begins on page 65.  This lesson contains five other paragraphs in it.  I want you to read the first paragraph silently to yourself. Remember that when we read to ourselves silently, we say the words to ourselves and not out loud.ä  Tell students to read slowly if needed because if were not comprehending what were reading then we have to go back and reread again.  However, allow no more than five minutes for this short passage.
2. Explain to students that summarization is one way that helps us when were trying to comprehend what we read.  Tell students that ãsummarizing a paragraph after reading, helps us to recall the most important things we just read.ä
3. Have students read the section in their textbook entitled ãWeather.ä  Students will reread the first paragraph again and continue to read the rest of them silently.  When they are done reading, I will ask them very detailed questions about very specific things mentioned in the reading. I will ask questions that are unimportant.  Most likely the students will not remember the answers to the questions because they were mentioned very briefly and are of small detail.  Explain to students that because it is so hard to remember the details of a passage that seem of no importance we can summarize it and remember the main ideas or most important details of the passage.
4. Explain that if we delete unimportant information, substitute easy terms for lists of items, and select a topic sentence we will be on our way to summarizing we what we have read.
5. Teacher should model the above rules in order for students to see and fully understand.  Model the first passage students were supposed to have read by writing it on the board.  Then make a summary from the passage using the above rules. ãWeather happens all around us each and every day.  Some weather may be violent like tornadoes and thunderstorms and some weather may be calm like a bright sunny day.  Different weather patterns can create different things.  Can you think of some weather patterns we havenât mentioned?ä
6. Teacher will then select one of the other passages from the six in the lesson. This time the class will work as a whole to summarize the passage. The students will call out to the teacher as he/she writes the summary given to her by the students.
7. Students now will be divided into small groups of five.  Each group will be assigned a different passage to summarize.  All of these passages should have been read by now.  When summaries have been composed, allow each group to read aloud their summaries recreating new meanings to the passages. They should include only the most important details in each one of them.
8. For assessment, have a piece of paper run off with five passages written on it. Each child can select a passage from any of the passages on the handout. Ask each child to write a summary on an individual passage. In evaluating their passage have a checklist indicating whether or not the child showed whether or not he understood how to delete unimportant information, substitute easy terms for lists of items, and select a topic sentence.

References:  Barman, Charles.  Addison-Wesley Science, Grade 4.  Lesson 6-ãWeather.ä  Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. New York, 1989.  pgs.65-71
                      Pressley, Michael.  ãStrategies That Improve Childrenâs Memory and Comprehension of Text.ä  The Elementary School Journal Volume 90, Number 1.  University of Chicago, 1989.
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