Reading To Learn
Mark Gullion
What Am I Reading?
Rationale: As children become more fluent and accurate readers, it is important to begin teaching them comprehension and recall skills. A single reading of an expository text never permits recall of all of the information in the passage, but mature readers often can remember the most important information. They remember the gist- trivial details are forgotten; generalizations are made that sum up lines of argument in the prose.  Summarization is an important skill to teach maturing readers. This lesson will teach students how to summarize an article by reading fast over details and reading slow over important facts. This lesson will also demonstrate how an outline of an article can help summarize as well.

MaterialsRegions Near and Far, Heath Social Studies (grade 4 textbook); notebook paper; pencil

1. “Class, today we are going to open our Social Studies books to Chapter 4. We are going to be reading about Indians. Before we start reading I want to review the topic sentence and main ideas from our lesson last week. Remember we talked about the one sentence that sums up the passage. This is the topic sentence. The topic sentence is supported by main ideas that can also be found in the passage.” We will be using the main ideas to learn how to create a summary of Chapter 4.
2. “Now I want everyone to read Chapter 4 silently. After you have finished reading, look up so I will know you are finished.”
3. When the class is finished reading, I will ask them to take out a piece of notebook paper and a pencil. “Class, now that we have finished reading we are going to make a map of Chapter 4. This map will help us pick out the main ideas of the chapter. First I want everyone to write Indians in the center of your paper and put a circle around it. (I will be demonstrating this on the chalkboard as the students do it at their desks.) Now I want you to think about important details that you read about the Indians in Chapter 4. Look back in the passage to help you create your map. I want you to find about 4 to 6 details you think are important and draw them each in a small circle. Be sure to write a short sentence about each detail inside the circle. Then, draw a line like this from your center circle out to each important detail. This creates a map of what you have read.” The teacher will walk around the room to make sure students are looking back in the passage to find the important points.
4. After the students finish, the class will discuss what they thought was important in the chapter. The teacher will finish the map on the chalkboard during this discussion as new important points are brought up.
5. Now that I feel everyone understands, I will ask the students to make their own map of the next chapter. For assessment, I will collect these maps and check to make sure each student is getting the idea.

Reference:   Pressley, Michael. Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text. The Elementary School Journal. Volume 90, number 1. 1989 pp.122-138.

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