Lesson: Reading with purpose

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Lesson Objective

SWBAT set a purpose for reading by coming up with questions and answering questions as they read.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Readers, today we are starting a new unit.  As many of you know we have a big test coming up so that you can show everyone in DC how much you learned this year as a fifth grade scholar.  We covered so much this year in reading and all of you are becoming wonderful readers.  Over the next few weeks we will review several reading strategies to help you prepare for the test.


Teach (10-15 mins): Good readers, read with a purpose or goal in mind.  Sometimes I read to find out information about a topic, other times I might read to connect with a character that has a life similar to mine. Setting a purpose for my reading helps me to focus in on the information that is most important to me as a reader. 


Today, we are going to read an article titled, Alaska: A State of Extremes.  Before I read, I want to set a purpose for my reading.  Teacher places template for asking questions on the overhead.  By just reading the title, I already have a question I am interested in learning about.  I wonder, what is extreme about Alaska? I will add that question to our chart.  This question will help guide my reading and as I read I will try to answer this question. 


Let’s try to think of other questions.  Turn and tell your partner a question that you would like to have answered as we read this article.  Students should turn and talk and teacher listens in to conversations.  I heard some great ideas from many of you during that conversation.  Teacher has a student share out and adds their question to the chart.  For example, “Where is Alaska?”. 


Students turn and talk a third time about a question they may have.  Teacher has students share out and writes a third question on the chart.  I am so excited to see if we can find the answers to your questions while we read today.  It is so important to guide our reading with questions, or set a purpose for a reading.  I now know that while I read I will pay extra attention to the parts that answer questions I have about the topic.


Teacher reads aloud article, stopping when a question is answered and adding the answer to the chart.  This depends on the student-created questions however, all questions may not be answered.


We did such a great job finding answering to our questions and reading with a purpose.  I noticed that we didn’t answer one of our questions.  That is okay, sometimes that let’s us know we might want to read more about the topic.  Or sometimes all of our questions are answered but we still have more ideas we are wondering about.  I can use the space at the bottom of the page to write those extra questions. From now on when you read, set a purpose for your reading by asking yourself questions.


Active Engagement (15-20 mins): Students should return to their seats to read in their own leveled text.  Before reading, students should write three questions using the same template modeled during the lesson.  While reading they should stop and write answers that they find.  Teacher should circulate to conference with students who may need extra support.


Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): Teacher may call on a few students to share what they learned or what questions they were able to answer while reading.  This is an easy and quick way to informally assess, along with conferences, if students mastered the skill.  Students should turn in their completed question templates and the teacher may use these as an exit slip.  Students that struggled with the concept may be pulled for individual conferences on the following day.


Reflection: This lesson was very successful.  I found that students were much more attentive during independent reading time because they were invested in finding the answers to the questions they had written.  Although, it is important to stress that good readers don’t simply skim a text for answers but read thoroughly to fully comprehend the text.  I had this conversation many times with students during individual conferences but it may also merit a mid-workshop interruption to address the issue with the whole class.

Lesson Resources

Reading with a Purpose: Questioning  
RUOS_ article_alaska_3.pdf  


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