Gary Speake

The Infamous W Gang & Lonely H

Rationale: Children need to be able to comprehend text as they read. In order to do this, they must learn how to develop comprehension strategies of their own. This lesson will help children to develop a basic strategy that will enable them to comprehend the text they are reading. Once this strategy is learned, students will enjoy reading because they will learn as they read their textbooks and follow the plot of the story in leisure time reading.

Materials: Classroom history textbook and a passage from a class favorite book.
                  Chapter on The Alamo or The Boxcar Children

1) Procedure: I will introduce the lesson by reminding the children that the main purpose of reading is comprehension or understanding what we read. Understanding information presented to them in books is essential for learning to take place. The children should already be familiar with silent reading benefits such as reading at a pace at which you can understand the material. Have the children read a section from their history book with the expectation that they will have to answer a few questions when they finish reading.
2) Today I will share with you something one of my teachers shared with me when I
needed to learn to understand what I had been reading. My teacher told me about "The Infamous W Gang and Lonely H." This is a gang of questions I should ask about the book I am reading. These questions are Who? What?, When?, Where? and lonely How? The last one is lonely because he does not start with a W. The children should begin to ask themselves these questions as they read so that they can begin to understand the content of the passage they are reading. Now have the children read the passage from the history book as you read the passage out loud and ask the "W Gang and Lonely H" questions as appropriate for the passage. Examples: Who are the main characters in this story? What is happening and what are the main characters doing? When are the events taking place? Where are the events taking place? How did these events affect us today? This will model the strategy for the children.
      3)   Now read a chapter from the class favorite book. Instruct the children to ask them
selves the "W Gang and Lonely H" questions as they listen to you read. They should be able to answer your questions after you read the passage. They will be surprised to find out how much more they remember and understand about the passage from the book. Their questions should include: Who is the passage about? What is happening in the passage? When and where did the passage take place? Why did certain events take place? and How did certain events take place? Actively discuss questions and answers after you have read the passage. Praise the children lavishly for correct usage of the strategy to encourage future use of "W Gang and Lonely H" strategy.
       4)  For assessment purposes, pass out an article from an appropriate source for the
children to read silently. Have the children write answers to the "W Gang and Lonely H" questions. Check students work for accuracy as compared to the actual text. Discuss the results as a class. The children will be surprised to find out how well they can understand new material just by applying this strategy.
Pressley, M., Johnson, C.J., Symons, S., McGoldrick, J., & Kurita, J. (1989)
Strategies That Improve Children's Memory and Comprehension of Text.
The Elementary School Journal, Volume 90, Number 1.

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