Applying Reading Strategies

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SWBAT better comprehend a challenging text by applying reading strategies.

Big Idea

Students get their first taste of revolutionary literature with help from reading strategies.

Do Now: Denotative versus Connotative

10 minutes

Do Now: list 5 ways to say "angry," word or phrase.

After attendance, I create a list of students' words on the board. Then, I ask, "How are these different from one another?" My end goal is for students to realize that the words imply different levels of angry, different types of angry, or different actions as a result of angry (among others). I then segue into the terms "denotative" and "connotative." Students add the definitions of these words to their lists.

Next, I ask students what reading strategy the terms above best connect to, requiring them to draw on their homework. We then list the reading strategies on the board and add strategies that they use which were not included on my video:

  • Look up unfamiliar words
  • Reread
  • Visualize
  • Make connections
  • Ask questions
  • Take notes
  • Consult secondary sources

I explain that it will be important to draw on the strategies for our reading work through the course and that we will get our first glimpse today.

Patrick Henry Returns

35 minutes

I open this section by having students open a copy of the Patrick Henry "Speech to the Virginia Convention" (found easily online) in a note-taking app and then taking students back in time:

You are no longer students at Dansville High School. You are delegates at the Virginia Convention, on this day debating a topic of great importance. Do we stay the course with Britain, negotiating for better treatment, or do we join the call for war? So far, many of you have spoken against war. After all, war is dangerous to life and livelihood. But now, Patrick Henry takes the podium. There is a fire in his eyes that suggests a storm is coming.

That said, I perform the speech, putting forth as much passion as I can. I pace, I rage, I raise my fist--and then, at the grand finale, I drop my head, taking us back to the present.

Next, I ask students to apply the reading strategies we discussed earlier in the lesson, starting with rereading. While they work independently to identify Henry's central ideas and determine what the text says explicitly, I circulate to address questions and positively reinforce the use of the strategies. This work takes approximately 15 minutes. Students identify:

  • Henry views war (and possible death) as better than slavery to Britain's bad laws
  • Britain has not been acting in a fair manner
  • Britain is already prepared to fight
  • There is too much disagreement in the colonies-->need to unite

For the last 5 minutes, we list what we drew from the text on a communal Word document, to be used when we officially analyze for claim, evidence, and details in a following lesson. For now, it is enough that students see the the value in using reading strategies.