"Reading Detectives Remember"

Reading to Learn

Kate DeGuenther


Rationale: It is important for students to know the general structure of stories to improve their reading comprehension. They should also know how to ask themselves questions about stories both during and after reading to further enhance comprehension. To become skilled readers, students need to learn to use story grammar automatically. This lesson will help students understand how to use story structure while reading to better their comprehension. By having the students fill in the story map of what they have read, their comprehension will improve.



- A familiar story, Cinderella by RH Disney.  Random House, 2005.

- Pencils

- Paper

- Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown.  HarperTrophy, 2003.

      (one copy for each student)

- Story map chart- two for each student





1. Teacher introduces lesson by beginning a conversation about reading with the students.  "How many of you think you are good readers?  You are all good readers.  As good readers, we should do many things while we are reading.  How many of you ask yourself questions about what you are reading?  We should ask ourselves about the characters in the book, where we think the events are taking place, when they take place such as a few years ago, during the day, etc.  Asking questions like this is what we call being a reading detective.  We are going to practice being reading detectives today by practicing asking ourselves questions about the book I'll read you."

2.  Teacher gives a book talk of the familiar book.  "Cinderella is a story about a young girl, named Cinderella.  Her father goes away and leaves her to be taken care of by her stepmother, who makes her be a servant to her and her evil stepsisters.  One day, the Prince announces he is having a ball to find his bride.  Do you think Cinderella will get to go to the ball?  We are going to read and find out!"  Read the book to the students.  Afterwards, hold a grand conversation discussing the stories key elements.

3.  Teacher passes out the story charts to each student.  Explain to the students that as you discuss the story, they are to fill in the chart.  "Everyone look at our story chart.  Let's start by filling in the title and author of the book we just read.  Good Cinderella by RH Disney.  What about the main character?  Yes, I'd say it would be Cinderella.  Who are the supporting characters in the book?  The evil stepmother, the two stepsisters, the prince…Can you think of anyone else?  Yes, the fairy godmother.  Good!  What is the setting?  Or where did this story take place?  Does anyone have a guess?  We could say in the castle, or in the kingdom of the Prince.  Those are good answers.  What is our problem in the story?  Yes, the evil stepmother won't let Cinderella go to the Prince's ball.  What is the solution or how is this story fixed?  Yes, Cinderella's fairy godmother uses her magic and gives Cinderella a dress and carriage to go to the ball and the Prince falls in love with Cinderella.  You all did a great job!  We just used our story chart to look at what happens in the story."

4.  "Now, you are going to get a chance to show me what you have just learned!  I am going to give you each another copy of the story chart and a copy of the book, Flat Stanley.  Flat Stanley is a fun book about a normal little boy who wakes up one morning flat!  His bulletin board fell on him during the night.  He goes to school and has to adjust to being flat.  To find out how Stanley adjusts and see if he ever becomes normal again, you will have to read the book.  Now, you are to read the book silently and to yourselves.  What does this mean?  Good, you are not to talk or move your mouth and you are to sit in your desk and read.  Afterwards, I want you to use your knowledge and fill in the story chart just like we did for Cinderella."  As the students read and fill in their chart, the teacher will monitor to make sure they are on task.

5.  Once the students are finished, the teacher will direct the students to get in pairs.  "Students, you are to get with a partner, someone sitting next to you, and discuss the chart you just filled in.  I want you to discuss the book, Flat Stanley, talk about what you liked and disliked, and discuss the characters and problem you read about.  As you discuss the book, I want one of you to write down three things about the book on a piece of paper.  When you all have finished your discussion, we will briefly talk about it as a class."

6.  Teacher allows students to discuss the book with each other.  Teacher then has students share their thoughts and what they wrote down on their piece of paper.  Teacher then says, "You all did a great job today.  It really seems like you all understand making a story chart and remember a lot from Flat Stanley.  Great Job!"

7.  For assessment, the teacher will review each of the students' story charts on Flat Stanley to check for understanding and correctness in filling out the chart.  While checking the story map charts, the teacher will be sure the students filled in the correct information for each section to make sure the students understand the concept.  For further assessment, the teacher could have the students do an Accelerated Reader test for the book.



"I Ask Myself Why?"  by Brittany Roberts



"Reading to Remember!" by Lauren Hendricks



Pressley, M., Johnson, C.J., Symons, S., McGoldrick, J.A., & Kurity, J.A. (1989).  Strategies that improve children's memory and comprehension of text. The  Elementary School Journal, 90, 3-32.


Story Map Chart (author unavailable): http://www.aisr.cistron.nl/online_curriculum/holland_online/resources/story_map_chart.html


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