?  Thumbs-up or

 Thumbs-down  ?

Reading to Learn
Holland Stevens

 The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension.  In order to become independent readers we must adapt key components that make us independent readers.  One of the most important components of comprehension is being able to ask meaningful questions.  Research has shown that kids who ask thought provoking and open-ended questions while reading had higher test scores than those asking/answering literal questions.  We can think of questions that will help us connect the information we are reading to our own lives or other parts of the text.  Generating questions while you're reading is a good strategy because it engages us with the text and ensures that we are active readers.  In this lesson we will learn to develop good questions.  We will carefully examine the difference between a good question and a not so good question.


1. Tuck Everlasting copies for each student

2. Sticky notes, plenty for the whole class to have several each

3. dry erase board, marker

4. Checklist (below), a copy for each student

            -Can I find the answer to my question by rereading?

            -Make a list of info you think is important.

            -Pull all ideas together


1. Explain Why:

Ask students if they know why they read.   Allow the students to all give an answer. After a few answer, explain that we read because we want to learn history and new information to increase or knowledge. If we couldn't remember what we read than, the mission for reading is not complete. We read because we want to comprehend the text so we can get the full message, otherwise we just read but we would not gain from it. It is also important to learn to read so that we can communicate with each other and so that we can understand written language. What are some examples of why it is important to read? Some examples are items in the grocery store, road signs, newspapers, bank statements, etc.

 2. Review

To review with the students you can discuss silent reading or other reading strategies that you have been working with.  Can anyone tell me what silent reading is? Why is it important that we learn how to read silently?  Make sure that the students understand that silent reading is the way most adults read, otherwise, think of how loud the Walmart ® may be if every one stood and read aloud what they were looking at. If we had our D.E.A.R time but did not read silently we would be interrupting others reading time and nobody would understand what they just read.  Explain to the students that reading silently means that you read to yourself, not making any noise. But be sure you  are actually reading and comprehending.    

3.    Explain How:

To make sure that we understand the message, comprehend it, it is important to ask ourselves questions as we read along.  These questions will help us think about what we are reading and help us to remember what we are reading. Good questions let us understand the story better.  So today we are going to learn to ask good questions while we read our new book so we can comprehend the story.

 4. Model:

There are two types of questions you can ask, thumbs-up or thumbs-down.   Thumbs-up questions are factual questions.  Write on the board, Abby is coloring a picture in her desk.An example of a shallow question would be, What is Abby doing coloring that picture in her desk? Coloring, that is a fact, but it does not make you think further.  Now what if I asked you, What do you think that picture Abby is coloring will turn out to be?  There could be a lot of different answers to that question, and you have to think about it.  I think it could be a girl walking her dog, or maybe even they are going to the store. With a thumbs-up question it just pops out at you and you don't have to find the a certain way that helps find the answer to your question. When you are searching but cannot find the right question, sometimes we fumble with words and cannot figure out exactly how to word these questions. These questions are known as thumb-down.  Make sure the students grasp this concept.  In fact, you may want to ask the students to provide you with examples thumbs-up and thumbs-down questions.

5. Simple Practice:

Now let's talk more about how you know when a question is thumbs-up or thumbs-down.  If you can find your answer by rereading the story or if it is something that was clearly stated in the book, what kind of question do you think that would be?  Of course, a thumbs-up question.  What if you asked a question where you had to guess about some information you have not yet read about or if there is more than one answer to it?  That would be a thumbs-down question.  I will start this new story off by reading the first chapter to you.  Then we will talk about some questions afterwards. Read the first chapter of Tuck Everlasting to the students.  When you finish, ask the students to give you some examples of thumbs-up questions and thumbs-down questions from the reading.  An example of a thumbs-up question could be, what did the Tucks not want the little girl to have?  An example of a thumbs-down question could be, why do you think the little girl decides not to keep her promise and not drink the water?

6.  Whole Texts:

Now, own your own I want you to silently read the second chapter. As you do so I want you come up with a few thumbs-up questions that would help you comprehend the story.  Look at your checklist to make sure that you are writing thumbs-up questions. Then, write those questions down on sticky notes and we will look at them once everyone is finished.  


I will look at the questions they wrote on the sticky notes, asking students to share with the class some of the question they came up with. This way, I will assess each of the students individually to make sure that they comprehend the types of questions we discussed today.  Then I will wrap up with asking the students once again what it means to ask a thumbs-up or thumbs-down questions and why this is important.                   I will look at their checklist and see what they thought was important


Babbit, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting, Douglas and McIntyre Publishing Group. Copyright 2000. 171, pages

To question or not to question?-  Melanie Smith

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