"Courage Like No Other"

by Beverly Easterling

Reading to Learn Lesson Design

Rationale: This lesson is created in order to aid children in learning about non-fiction text. Children need to learn to relate non-fiction to their personal life and pervious knowledge on the subject. They need to be able to summarize larger groups of text in order to obtain more knowledge from the reading.

Materials: Copy of "Helen Keller: Courage in the Dark" by Johanna Hurwitz for every student, pencil,
paper, chalkboard, and chalk.

Procedures: 1. I will begin the lesson by explaining the key differences between fiction and non-fiction texts. "Today class, we are going to read a non-fiction book. Until today we have only read fiction material that is mainly for entertainment and they are rarely based on any true-life event. But, non-fiction books are only about things that really took place. Today we are going to start reading ‘Helen Keller: Courage in the Dark.’" Then I will explain to the class that some non-fiction books can be written in a text book format. I will tell the class that this particular book is a true story about a little girl in history.

2.  To gain the class’ interest in the book, I will give them a short book talk and I will relate Helen Keller’s problems to children that they might know today that have learning difficulties and major life obstacles. I will also point their attention to the "Word Wall" where there will be a list of all the vocabulary words that they don’t know and talk about the definition of each word.

3. Before they start reading, I will go over the summarization strategy. I will explain to the class that every so often they need to stop and think about the paragraph or page that they just read and refresh in their mind what they just read. I will tell they class that they can do this by writing or thinking of a single sentence that summarizes the entire section.

4.  It is grave for them to understand that they should delete repeated and useless information. "Class you shouldn’t worry about small details that have little to no effect on the main point of the text." I will model this for them by reading a single page from "Helen Keller: Courage in the Dark". To do this I will read one paragraph and list a few review sentences on the board. To make sure that they clearly understand summarization, I will let them choose the sentence that best sums up the passage that I read aloud to them.

5. Next, I will have the class begin to read their own copies of the book silently. "Usually, we don’t read silently in here, but there are a lot of reasons why it is good to do so. If we all read silently, you can take your time to go back and reread until you grasp the material or you can go ahead along if they passage is clear to you.

6.  Once they have all reached a specific point in the book, I will assign them the task of writing one or two paragraphs of response about the passage that they just read. It could be about how much they enjoyed the reading or about how thankful they are to not struggle with the same things that Helen Keller does. Then, they will write one sentence that sums up at least on of the paragraphs that they read.

7. To assess, after a few days of reading the book I will have each student do a summarization page as they are reading that day. I will go around and check individually how they are doing with summarizing.

8. Although the students will be reading the book silently, there will be a discussion time after each reading session to further explain and apply the text.

Reference: Bobby Owen, AU Future Teacher

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For further information please contact me at: eastebe@auburn.edu