Stephanie McCoy
Reading To Learn

            Let’s Understand What’s Going On!

Rationale:  Students must be aware of the general structure of stories and of the questions one should ponder while reading in order to improve comprehension.  This lesson will facilitate student's understanding of the story’s structure and how to use the structure to enhance one’s comprehension of the material.

Materials:  personal copies of "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E.L. Konigsburg (New York: Atheneum Publishers) and Discovery Children Magazines, five pieces of butcher paper with questions-see step 3, a children's magazine for read aloud (i.e. Muse, Highlights, etc.), & paper and pencil for each student.

Procedure:  1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that comprehension is the overall purpose of reading and essential to learning.
2. Review the structure of stories with students, reminding them, "stories contain information about the time, location, and the main characters.  In addition, stories include and event or obstacle which is followed by several attempts to solve the problem."
3. Focus attention on pre-made questions on butcher paper around the room.  Each poster contains a heading of the name of the  book, "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E.L. Konigsburg, followed by four questions: (a) Who is the main character?  (b) Where and when did the story take place?  (c) What was the main event in the story?  (d) How was the problem solved or how did the story end?
4. Next, model reading a short article from a Muse magazine.  When finished, discuss the previous questions with the class relating to the article.  Have students raise their hands to answer questions.
5. Pass out personal copies of the children's book and explain to children that we are going to read each chapter silently and then discuss the important factors in the chapter.  Start by giving a book talk, "Claudia is a twelve year old girl who is ready for a change and decides to runaway so she is comfortable and appreciated at home.  She decides to have her brother come along as her partner and…"
6. Have students read the first chapter silently as you read aloud.  Discuss the questions and have students write the answers on the butcher paper.  (Some questions may not be answered in every chapter)
7. Then have the students read the next chapter silently and continue to orally discuss the answers on the butcher paper.  Continue this process until students have finished the book and questions have been fully answered.  (For some chapters, new information may not be discovered to add to the display)
8. For assessment, hand out personal copies of Discovery Children magazine and have students choose between two included articles and answer the same questions on personal paper to hand in.

Reference:  Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995. pg      122-127          Joy Gettys "Story Structures Help Comprehension"             Kesha Floyd "Read It and Remember It"

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