Dara Davis
Reading to Learn
Who, What, Where, and Why Not?

Rational:  When young readers begin reading to learn, they must learn to use their inquisitive nature to ask others and themselves the right questions.  In this lesson, the students will learn to use prior knowledge and the ability to ask the right questions to make comprehending expository text more easily.

Materials:  History Book:  “The World and It’s People:  the US and It’s Neighbors”, overhead and transparency, paper and pencils.

1. I would begin the lesson by discussing the students’ prior knowledge about the first Thanksgiving.  “ Before we read our lesson, lets talk about what we already know about the first Thanksgiving.  It is Important for us to think about what we already know before we read , so we can get our minds ready  to learn new things.”
2. “Now I want you to practice your silent reading skills and read these pages in our History book about the first Thanksgiving.  Remember:  when we start  to read silently we begin by whispering or just moving our lips.  Soon we are able to read without whispering or moving our lips.  When you come to a word that you do not know, it is best to whisper as you sound it out so that you can hear the word as well as see it.  While you are reading, I want you to underline any new vocabulary words or words that you are unsure of.”
3. “Now that you have a list of new vocabulary words.”  After the class comes up with a definition, the person who presented the word will read it out loud in the sentence from the book and decide if the definition is correct in the context of the book.
4. “Now I want you to make up a quiz.  Don’t get too excited, I am going to teach you a strategy that will help you not only be able to make a test, but it will help you remember what you read.  When I give you a test do I ask a question about every sentence?  No! I ask about the important points or the main idea.  For example, if I were going to study this passage (on the overhead)  I would first read it.
“ In 1620 another group of people came to America.  These were the Pilgrims. A pilgrim is a person who travels for religious reasons. The story of the Pilgrims begins in England.  There they were called Separatists because they had broken away from the English church.  They found religious freedom in the Netherlands.  But they did not feel at home.  They did not like having their children grow up learning a different language and way of life.  Many decided to move again; this time to Virginia.”(P.63)
Then I would go back and ask myself about the main idea.  I might ask “Why did the Pilgrims move to Virginia?  This is good question because when I answer it I will say that they left because they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs and wanted to live in a new country where their children would grow up in a similar culture to their own.”
5. “Now I want you to try it.  I am going to assign you one paragraph to read and I want you to write down a question that you would ask someone to make sure that they read and understand what your paragraph is about.  Then I want you to sit with your reading buddy and read their paragraph and make sure that their question is fair and that it covers the main idea of the paragraph.”  I would go around and conference with each group to make sure they are understanding the strategy.

Assessment:  For assessment I would have the children reread the passage again silently.  I would tell them to try to guess the questions that their classmates came up with for each section.  That is the best way for them to study for a quiz.  I would take all of their questions and type them up into a short answer quiz that they would take the next day.

Reference:  Pressley and ed. “Strategies that Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text.” 1989.
The World and It’s People:  The US and It’s Neighbors.

Click here to return to Insights.