We Can Comprehend!
Michelle Herring
Reading to Learn

Rationale: Students need to know the general structure of stories to improve comprehension. They also need to know how to ask themselves questions about the stories they are reading to enhance comprehension. To become skilled readers, students need to learn to use story grammar automatically. This lesson will help students understand how to use story structure to better their comprehension.

Materials: A copy of “Whooz-z-z Snoz-z-zing?” (Ranger Rick, Nov 2000) for everyone, a copy of “The Secret of Silver Pond” (Ranger Rick, Aug 2000) for everyone, a story map card for everyone, a story map on a piece of poster board, cards with questions on them for everyone, paper, and pencils

1. When introducing the lesson, tell the students that they have been doing a great job with their reading. Then tell them that because they are catching on so quickly, we are going to move on to improving our comprehension skills. Now that you all are really learning to read, we need to practice remembering what we are reading. So today we will learn to use story grammar and structure to help us with our comprehension.

2. Tell the students that you are going to review story structure with them. Remind them that: Almost all stories have a beginning which can include information about the time of the story, where it took place (the setting), and the main characters of the story. Then an event usually sets the problem, which is followed by several attempts to solve that problem. Lastly, the problem is solved.

3. Next, explain to the students that asking themselves questions while they are reading is one of the best ways to remember what they are reading. Pass out the cards with questions on them to every student. Read the questions out loud to the students. (Who is the main character? Where and when did the story take place? What did the main characters do? How did the story end? and How did the main character feel?) Tell the class that they are going to silently read “The Secret of Silver Pond”. While you read, be asking yourself the questions on your cards.

4. After the students read the article, show them how to answer the questions. Tell them that they can use the story structure to help answer the questions. For question #1, we know that the main character is usually introduced at the beginning of the story. We also know that for question #2, the setting, is also found in the beginning of the story. Let’s look back to the beginning of the story and see if we can find the answers to the first two questions. Yes, I see that the main characters are Rowen and Mick and that the story takes place in the summer time next to a pond. Now let’s see if you can answer the rest of the questions.

5. After the students have had time to find the answers, have a discussion about the story and talk about the answers to the questions and where each answer was found. This will help reiterate story structure and help the students the next time they need to answer questions.

6. Another thing we can do to help us remember what we read is to make a story map. Story maps tell us the setting, characters, time, place, problem, goal, action, and the outcome. Watch me make a story map of “The Secret of Silver Pond”. Use the poster board to make story map so that all students can see it. After that, read an article or story to the students that they have heard before, and make another story map on the back of the other poster board. This time have the students tell you what to write for each question. As they tell you the answers, tell them to notice where in the story they are finding their answers.

7. For assessment, give the students their own story map cards. Give each of them a copy of “Whooz-z-z Snooz-z-zing?” and tell them to read the article silently. After you finish reading the article, use your story map card and create a story map.

Story Map Card

The Setting:
The Problem:
The Goal:
The Outcome:

Reference: Reading Genie Website, www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/breakthroughs/burnsrl.html (Kim Burns)

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