Comprehension is Key!

Jodi Gray
Reading to Learn

RATIONALE:  The main reason people read is to learn about what they are reading.  They read to learn, which cannot be accomplished without comprehension of the text.  People can come up with the main idea of a story or article in several different ways.  This lesson should emphasize one of those ways.  We are going to focus on story mapping in order to help us delete redundant and unimportant information in a story.  This is a tool that should prove to be helpful when summarizing the important facts in stories.

(Copies of Coral Reef) Barrett, NormanCoral Reef.  1991.  Franklin Watts, Inc.

(Copies of the bird article) Julivert, Maria Angels. The Fascinating World of Birds.  1992. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.

1. Today class we are going to review what we talked about last week and then apply what we learn today to that.  Does anyone remember what our lesson was called last week?  Correct.  "Fluency is Freedom!"  Can anyone tell me why this is?  Exactly, no matter what you pick up to read you can read it smoothly and automatically.  Today we are going to learn another reason behind how reading can lead to freedom.  Does anyone know what comprehension means?  It means that you understand what you read after you read it.  This is a major reason that people read.  Most people read to learn about topics or things that they do not know much about, and in order to do this they have to know what the words on the page are telling them.
2. Today we are going to learn a new strategy that should help us figure out what the words we read are trying to tell us.  This strategy is called story mapping.  I am going to give you an example using a brief article about birds and their feeding habits.  First I am going to read the article out loud.  Then I am going to put the topic of the article in a circle in the middle of the page.  Next I am going to recall all of the interesting information that I learned from the article about birds and their feeding habits, which I will write all around the circle.

3. Now I want everyone to read this book about coral reefs, and then I want you to make your own map of the story.  (Allow time for children to finish.)
4. Assessment:  Then I will let each child stand up in front of the class and share what they learned about coral reefs and we will make a big story map on the board including all of the facts that the children wrote on their paper.

* Here is the Bird article that the above map is constructed from.

Barrett, NormanCoral Reef.  1991.  Franklin Watts, Inc.

Julivert, Maria Angels. The Fascinating World of Birds.  1992.  Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.

Pressley, Michael. "Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text."The Elementary School Journal.  Volume 90, Number 1.  1989.  The University of Chicago.

Click here to return to Elucidations.