Reading to Learn
goal of reading is comprehension. Comprehension
the ability to understand the meaning or importance of something read.
lesson, students will apply comprehension strategies so that they can
understand and retain the information they are reading. Students will
ask questions about story structure in order to better understand the
prior to reading, while reading, and after reading as well as examine
components such as main characters, conflict, and resolution.
of Miss Nelson is
Missing (Allard, Harry. Houghton Mifflin Company.
1977) for each student and teacher; copies of
Flat Stanley (Brown, Jeff. Scholastic.1992); blank sheet of paper for
each student; chart on board with before, during, after;
criteria for group oral assessment as
their answer reflect a deeper understanding and reasoning of the text?
- Does the student ask questions and seek to find
- Is there support for the information added to the
chart from the text?
- Introduce lesson by assessing students’ familiarity
with questioning a text. “How many of you read a book and ask
questions to yourself as you read?” Good readers ask questions as they
read a text in order to understand what they are reading. Asking
questions like why while reading is much like solving a mystery. You
ask a question, look for the answer as you read, and when you find that
answer you ask another question in order to understand the story. You
may ask questions about the main characters, the problem, or solution
in a story. Detectives ask these types of
questions about story structure, search for an answer, and often ask a
new question about the answer they found until they fully understand
why something happened. Today, we are going to practice being
detectives by asking questions to ourselves before we read, while we
read, and after we read so we can understand what we are reading. So
let’s get started; clues are waiting for us.
- Model thought process of questioning and using story
structure from Flat Stanley, Chapter 1. Read chapter aloud as a
class. Ask questions such as: Who are the main characters? (Mrs.
Lambchop, Mr. Lambchop, Arthur, Stanley, and Dr. Dan). What is the
problem? (Stanley gets flattened by a bulletin board, his clothes won't
fit anymore, etc.) How are they going to solve the problem? (Get new
clothes for him made, wait until the doctor finds a cure). Ask why
questions such as: Why is Stanley not scared of being flattened? Why
was his brother upset? (Maybe Stanley is not scared because he thinks
will be neat to be flat for a little while and he thinks the doctor
will think of a cure. His brother was upset because he thought Stanley
was hurt or he was scared.) Explain to students asking why questions
helps us think of possible scenarios for why something is the way it
is. Detectives do this all the time! Remember good readers ask a
question, look for the answer, and then when they find the answer they
make sure the answer they got makes sense, and if not they may ask
another question. Just then we asked questions about the story
structure prior to reading, we looked for our answers, and made sure
they made sense or we may have asked other why questions.
- Now, pass out a copy of Miss Nelson is Missing
to each student. Students will read silently. Give book talk: “Miss
Nelson is a teacher who goes missing one day. The kids in her class are
behaving so badly, that is until their substitute Miss Viola
She is scary and mean. The kids worry what happened to Miss Nelson and
wonder if they will ever find her. Let’s read on and think about
questions about story structures like the characters, problems, and
solution.” Use 3 column chart, on board with categories for before,
during, and after. This will stand for questions and predictions before
reading, during reading, and after reading. Before students begin
reading the text silently allow students to ask questions based on the
cover and title of the book. Also use illustrations from the book for
the before section. Students will generate questions about things they
want to know. For example, I may write in the before category, “Who is
Miss Nelson? Why is she missing?” Begin reading, stop frequently and
allow time for students to develop questions and answers from each page
fill them in on the chart on the board. Write answers to questions
under the question as you find the answer. Remind students they want to
know and understand what the story is about. They must search, like
detectives, for the answers to their questions in order to find Miss
- After reading, begin discussing chart on board.
During this time students will answer orally story structure as well as
why questions such as: Who are the main characters? What problem was
Miss Nelson having with her class? How did she try to fix the problem?
What was the conclusion of Miss Swamp
coming to school? Why was Miss Nelson missing? Why did the kids start
acting differently? How could this story have ended differently? Examine the questions asked and the answers
found. Ask students: Was it easier to find some answers more than
others? Ask them how they found answers to their questions? Was it from
the reading, the illustrations? Ask them what they know about the
characters in the story after reading the text? What do they know about
Miss Nelson? Miss
Viola Swamp? The children?
(Note: Other students may be able to help answer these
questions. Keep in mind that some students maybe have more developed
self-helping strategies such as questioning and may find answers to the
questions more easily than others.)
- Assessment: Students ability to formulate
questions and find answers will be assessed orally through their
participation in developing the 3 column chart on the board. Students
will be assessed by the appropriateness of their answers about story
structure as well. This will be done by simply recognizing if the
students understand the material covered or not. I will keep certain
criteria in mind while listening to students answers and reviewing
their work on the chart. See materials for criteria.
Haffarnan, Jessi. “What Are We Reading for Again?”
Perrson, Kristy. “The Who, What, When,
Where and Why of Reading.”2006.
Wright, Madelyn. “The 5 W’s” 2006.
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