"So... What's the Point?"

Keri Sweatt
Reading to Learn

Rationale:  As students read and become better readers, it is important for them to know how to gain meaning and what the story is about.  Comprehension is a difficult task to grasp, because beginning readers are caught up in knowing and understanding what words mean and how to pronounce them correctly.  Comprehension is a strategy that is developed throughout reading.  It is important for students to feel comfortable reading and know how to use decoding strategies in order to build a vocabulary that helps them comprehend what is read.  Comprehension strategies are learned through watching others model as well as learning through practicing.  Summarizing is also a helpful strategy to gain comprehensive strategies, and through students knowing how to summarize, they are learning what the most important information is from the reading.  With a smaller text, students can read through it once and then read through it over and over to gain the important information and to understand what is important, hopefully making their reading easier. Students will learn how to "read to learn" by reading an article and taking out important facts to learn how to summarize.

Materials:
-Chart paper
- Markers


- Copies of short article for each student: The Flame Under Fire by Andrea Delbanco: http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/kids/news/story/0,28277,1728847,00.html
- Pencils and paper
 
Procedure:
1) I will begin explaining to the students, "You are going to begin an activity that will help show you how to pick out the important facts from what you read.  Can anyone tell me what the word is that you use when you pick out important information out of the text that you are reading?"  (Summarize/summary)  "Has anyone ever written a summary, or summarized what they had read?"  "Why is summarizing important?" (Helps for us, as readers, to determine what the important information is and what is not important)  "Summarizing what you have read is a technique that will help you to comprehend what has been read.  Summarizing takes a lot of practice and I am going to model for you reading a short paragraph from an article that we are going to look more at a little later, and we are going to think out loud so that everyone can get a good understanding and will feel comfortable when it is your turn to summarize on your own."
       
2) I will then go on to read a few paragraphs of the article, and on the chart paper will go back over what I have read and pull out all of the important facts to show the students how to pull out important facts from the text. I will also have students mark out all the useless information. "We are going to read an article about the upcoming summer Olympics! When we are done, we are going to write down all the important information we learned after reading the article." By having me write on the chart paper my thoughts, interactive writing will be taking place, to help the students understand my thought process.  As I am writing I will be saying it aloud so that the students are able to understand questions that they should be asking themselves after reading: 

-What was the topic that is being discussed within these few paragraphs?
-Is there a problem in this article that is of importance or any questions that we need to ask to further our knowledge on this particular subject?
-What information can be tossed out that is irrelevant to my summary?

These are a few questions I may ask myself in front of the students so that they can get an understanding of what it means to take out important facts/information out from text.  Here is an example from the article:
    "Runners carrying the torch for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games will pass thousands of protestors along their six-mile route through San Francisco, California, on Wednesday     afternoon. At least one runner who planned to carry the torch dropped out of the relay due to security concerns, despite detailed plans to try to contain the protests and keep         them peaceful. Police officers and ambulances will be stationed along the route, which could change at the last minute."
Questions:
               
- What is the problem so far?
- What are they celebrating?
 
       
3) After I have modeled for the students the way about going through articles, I will pass out an article from Time for Kids about the upcoming summer Olympics and protestors (included in materials list) to each student.  Each student will have a pencil and paper. The first time I am going to have the students read the article out loud as a whole group.  Then I am going to break them up into reading partners and have them partner read to each other.  Finally, they will read the article individually to themselves.  After the students read the article, they will pick out important information from the article and will document their findings on their paper.  The students will then get with their reading partners, and will exchange their important findings from the article.  I also want the students to share their techniques with each other, and the types of questions they asked themselves.  By working in partners, I think that students can share what they believe to be important and what techniques they have found that are most effective.  Students listen to other students, and listen to their words with great value because they can put it into terms and can sometimes explain things that are misunderstood better by discussing with peers.
4) After the students have met with their partner, they will come and write their findings on a piece of chart paper.  It will be important for the students to read over what previous students have written so that no information is repeated.  By the end, we should have a wonderful summary that the students have created.  By having the students do this together, a community is begin built and the students feel confident sharing their work with others because they are helping each other.

Assessment:  The students could be assessed either through taking a test on the article or I could assess individually. I could assess individually by having the students read the article, and I could provide oral questions to see if they can recall important information from the text:
- Where are the summer games going to be? (Beijing)
- Why did one of the runners drop out? (safety concerns)
- What are they going to do to keep the peace? (place police officers and ambulances along the route)
- What is the main continent all this has occurred on? (Europe)

References:
Stewart, Nicole. Let's Get to the Point. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/stewartrl.html

Delbanco, Andrea. The Flame Under Fire. Time for Kids. April 8 2008. http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/kids/news/story/0,28277,1728847,00.html

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