Michelle Strowd
Reading to Learn
What's So Important?


Rationale: The major goal of reading is comprehension. To comprehend meanings of written text, there are certain techniques that students can use in order to have a better understanding of what they are reading. One of the best techniques that a student can use is summarizing. It is important for children to be able to locate the most important information from written text.

Materials: a copy of The Watson’s Go to Birmingham by: Christopher Paul Curtis for each student, paper, pencils.

1.    First, the teacher will discuss with the students the importance of understanding what they are reading. “In order to understand what you read, we are going to use a strategy called summarization, which helps us find the important parts of what we read”.
2.    The teacher will now introduce the book The Watson’s Go To Birmingham to the class and have the students read the first three pages to themselves. When they have finished reading there will be a question and answer period about what they had just read. Questions will be in the form of who, what, when, where, and  why. In order to show what is important and what is not, the teacher should also ask some questions that are not important, such as, "what is the color of the main character's pet".  
3.    Now the teacher will reread the passage that was assigned to the students earlier. The teacher will point out the parts that are most important and those that are not. He or she will model to the students how to ask the five "w" questions to themselves in order to find out what is important in a passage. "Ask yourselves who the story is about, what is the story about, and try to find out when and where the story is taking place, and why is the story important?" The teacher should then demonstrate by asking the questions regarding 'who' with them.
4.    Next have the children label their papers with the heading "who, what, when, where, and why". Have the students finish reading the remainder of the chapter. The students should be able to fill in the information correctly.
5.    For assessment, the teacher will collect all of the students papers to ensure that each student was able to summarize the text by locating the most important information. The teacher will have a checklist that she makes up to see that the children have found the important points.

Reference: The Reading Genie Website

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