Bobby Owen
“What a brave little girl”

Ready To Learn

Rationale: This lesson is designed to help children learn to experience non-fiction text. They need to learn to relate the non-fiction to knowledge they already have on the subject. They need to learn the differences in the types of text structures in non-fiction. They need to be able to use an effective review strategy to help them get more out of their readings.

Materials: Copy of the “Diary of Ann Frank” for every student, pencil, paper, chalkboard, and chalk.

Procedure: 1. To start off the lesson I will explain the key differences between fiction and non-fiction texts. “Class, today we are going to start reading a non-fiction book. So far all we have read are fiction books. Non-fiction books are based on things that really happened. Fiction books are mainly for entertainment purposes and are rarely based on any true-life event. Today we are going to start reading “The Diary of Ann Frank.”” I will explain how some non-fiction can be written like textbook form. I will tell them how “The Diary of Ann Frank” is one persons account on a situation.
2. I will then relate the book to what they already know about the holocaust. I will give them any background information I feel is necessary for them to know about the events of the book. We will also have a word wall where we will list all vocabulary words that they don’t know already and talk about the definition of each word.
3. I will then go over the summarization strategy. I will explain however so often they need to stop and think about the paragraph or the page they just read and refresh in their mind what they just read. They can do this by listing or thinking of a single sentence that summarizes the entire section. When they do this it is important that they delete trivial and redundant information. “Don’t worry about little details that have little impact on the overall understanding of the text.” I will model this for them by reading a single page from “The Diary of Ann Frank”. I will read a paragraph and list a review sentence on the board. I will tell them that if it helps to write it down on a piece of paper then do so.
4. I will then have them start to read individually their own copies of the book silently. “Class, normally we don’t read silently in here, but there are lots of reasons to read silently. If we all read silently if you need to time to go back and look at something you did not understand, it gives you a chance to do so. If you understand what you read real clear you can just keep trucking along.
5. Once they have all reached a certain point in the book, I will have them write a paragraph or two about what this book makes them think about. It could be how they are glad that things aren’t that bad anymore or something about how a little girl could take on so much.
6. To assess, a couple days into the book I will have each person do a summarization page as they are reading that day. I will go around and check individually how they are summarizing.
7. While reading the book, we will have time to discuss the book. I think discussion would be a huge learning tool for a book like this.

Barbara Walker,  McArthur Elementary School, 100 Ten Mile Road, Pensacola, FL.
Pressley, M., Johnson, C.J., Symons, McGoldrick, J.A. (1989) “Strategies that improve children’s memory and comprehension of text.” “The Elementary School Journal”, 90, 3-32.

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