Why Do I Need To Know Why?

 

Caroline Yow
Reading to Learn

Rationale- In order for students to be able to comprehend text, they need to be able to gather important and meaningful information from the text. Having students recognize and answer "why" questions helps them to understand and organize the ever changing facts about a book. Predicting what might happen in the story from previously read text, helps the children put all the known clues and answers together to produce a creative hypothesis. Predicting is useful for organizing the facts in order to predict a reaction.This lesson explains and models how to ask "why" when you read in order to understand what you are reading, and also how to predict what might happen next. This lesson also features a reading worksheet activity in which the students can put their reading comprehension and prediction skills to the test.

Materials:

          Board to write questions on

          Marker or chalk to write questions with

          Pencils for each student

          Books: Robert the Rose Horse by Joan Heilbroner (1962). Beginner Books

          Worksheet for each student:

                   Questions to answer from Robert the Rose Horse.

Why did Robert's friends gather?
Read until page 9. From what you have read, what do you think will happen next?
Why is everyone up in the air?
Why did the Doctor want Robert to smell the roses?
Why is Robert leaving the farm?
Read until page 23. From what you have read, what do you think will happen next?
Why is the milkman mad?
Why is Robert out of a job? 
Why did Robert intentionally sniff the rose?
Read until page 62.  From what you have read, what do you think will happen next?
Why were all of Robert's farm friends in town?
Why did Robert not sneeze when the policemen gave him roses?

 
Procedures:

1. Introduce questioning text.

When we read we are always thinking about what is going to happen next.  Don't you just love to predict things? When we read, we also are remembering important facts about the book. How many of you read a book and ask questions to yourself as you read?  Today we are going to learn how to question and predict things in the story we are going to read. Good readers always ask questions as they read a text in order to remember and comprehend what they have read. One question that we are going to focus on today is the question "why?". Why are things happening? What are the possibilities for why things are the way they are? We are going to act like detectives today. We are going to read the story and ask "why" questions to find clues to what has happened, why it has happened and what do we think will happen next..

2. Teach the method to questioning.

What are some questions that we might ask ourselves when we read?
We often need to know the basics of a story.
We need to find out Who. Who is the story about? Who are the other characters?
We also need to know Where. Where is the story taking place? Where do the major events happen?
Another question we have is What. What is happening in the story?
We need to know Why. Why are things/problems happening?
The last question is When. When did an event take place? When did the story take place?
When we read we often need to have these questions answered in order for us to really understand the story.
More challenging questions that we are going to focus on to help teach us to question the text and be better predictors are: why, and what do you think will happen next? (write these questions on the board)
When we ask why, we are trying to find out why something happened, or why it is going to happen. (write under "why" section on board)
Many times we do not know what will happen next, but this is o.k.  We are going to act like detectives.  We are going to put all the other answers together to try to predict what will happen next. (write under "what do you think will happen" section)

3.  Pass out book Robert the Rose Horse to each student, along with the worksheet. 

4. Model predicting what will happen just from looking at the cover.

We are going to read Robert the Rose Horse.
 Now look at the cover of our book.
By the title and the pictures we can make guesses about what will happen.
We can predict. What are some of your predictions?
What do you think this book will be about? Who will be the main characters?

5.  Give booktalk.

Well this story is about Robert.  Robert is a horse, who has many friends. One thing that doesn't like Robert is a little red rose.  We have to read to see why the rose doesn't like Robert and what the rose will make Robert do. I don't want to give away too much because I want to leave you little detectives to find the problem.

6. Read briefly and model how to answer why questions and prediction questions.

I want you to read silently while I read aloud.
"Robert was a happy little horse. He lived on a farm. He lived with his mother and father." -pg. 3
By reading this first page we can answer some questions.  Who?...Who is our story talking about? (Robert). Who else? (mother and father)  What?...What do we know so far? (he lives on a farm with his mother and father).  Where?...Where does this story take place so far? (farm).
From this page can we answer any of our "why" worksheet questions yet? (No)
We can predict…we have only read a little but we can still make guesses. What do you think will happen next? Do you think he is going to get in trouble? Do you think he will show us his farm?  What do you think? (ask some students to predict).
Let's keep reading
"One day Robert had a party. It was his birthday. All his farm friends came to the party."-pg. 4
We learned something new.  What did we learn just from reading this page? (he is having a birthday party).  Were our predictions right?  It is o.k. if your prediction is not correct. Sometimes it is hard to guess especially when we only know a little. That is why we need to find out and remember all the information about the book so we can better predict, and be a better detective.
Can we answer our first question…Why did Robert's friend gather? Yes, we can. On your sheet, you are going to write in a complete sentence why they gathered.  On my sheet I am going to write (model writing it)…Robert's friends gathered because it was Robert' birthday party.
Did everyone write their answer to the first Why question.?
Now let's read to page 9 so that we can learn how to make predictions.
"They had a big cake. "Happy Birthday, Robert, " said all of his friends. "Happy Birthday to you.". The cake was very pretty. It had big roses all around it. Robert liked those red roses. He put his nose right into one. He took a big sniff. Then Robert got a funny feeling. His eyes began to itch. His nose began to itch. And then…"
On your sheet where it says " Read until page 9. From what you have read, what do you think will happen next?", you are going to do just that.
We read up until page 9 and then stopped.  Don't look forward, I want to see what kind of prediction you can gather from only what we have read.
So for these prediction questions you write you very own prediction…without looking ahead.
On my sheet I am going to write….I think that Robert is going to faint. Did you see how I wrote a complete sentence for that answer?
We don't know much about our story yet, but I am still making a creative guess. I am going to put together clues from what I have read so far to make my guess. Remember that you are going to be a detective!

7. Assign reading assignment for children to do independently.

Now you are going to finish reading this story.  While you are reading, you are going to write your answer to the why questions and the prediction questions.

 _________________________________________________________

Questions to answer from Robert the Rose Horse.

Why did Robert's friends gather?

Read until page 9. From what you have read, what do you think will happen next?

Why is everyone up in the air?

Why did the Doctor want Robert to smell the roses?

Why is Robert leaving the farm?

Read until page 23. From what you have read, what do you think will happen next?

Why is the milkman mad?

Why is Robert out of a job?

Why did Robert intentionally sniff the rose?

Read until page 62.  From what you have read, what do you think will happen next?

Why were all of Robert's farm friends in town?

Why did Robert not sneeze when the policemen gave him roses?

_____________________________________________________________

Assessment:  As an assessment, the teacher will look at each students worksheet to see if they comprehend the questions, know how to predict, and to assess whether they understand how to answer questions according to the text .

References:

Wright, Melanie. The 5 W's.

http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/persp/wrightrl.html

Cummings, Amanda. Detectives ask WHY!

http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/cummingsrl.html

Haffarnan, Jessica. What Are We Reading For Again?

http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/persp/haffarnanrl.html

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