Generating and Answering Questions about Narrative Text

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SWBAT generate and answer text dependent questions in "Spit Nolan"

Big Idea

Good readers ask text dependent questions!

The Predictions

15 minutes

Now that the students have read "Spit Nolan" one time, I refer back to the predictions.  We read through them again, and I ask them which hold some truth and which do not.  I also revisit the vocabulary words I gave them in the first lesson , so they can see how people generated certain predictions.  I ask them how they would categorize the words differently now that they have read the story.

The students were extremely excited to revisit the predictions.  The ones that were correct were greeted with gasps and "Wows"!  The ones that were incorrect usually had some grain of truth to them, so that was great to see as well.  I really feel like making these predictions helped my students prepare to read.  This is the first time I have ever used this inductive vocabulary strategy, and I loved it!  I will definitely be storing it away in my bag of tricks!

I believe that making and confirming predictions is a skill that good readers do naturally when they read.  I like to take time to teach my students how to do this and continually ask them to do it in class.  With practice, it will become automatic and will transfer over into other subject areas.  

The Questions

30 minutes

At the end of yesterday's reading, the students were supposed to generate 3 open ended questions that were not about vocabulary.  I ask them to reread their questions and share them with us.

I record these questions up on the smart board as they ask them.  On average, I recorded around 20 questions per class because many students had the same questions.

Generating and answering questions is another characteristics that good readers share.  It may seem like our students should know how to ask a question about text, but they really need to be taught and have time to practice.  I think students just don't know what to ask questions about.  They look at the story on a surface level like the author has already told us everything we need to know.  I try to get students to dig a little deeper.  

When students tell me that they don't have any questions, 

I usually offer question stems like:

Why did the author choose to________________________?(something about the setting, plot or character)

Why did the character do or say__________________?

These are some of the sample questions that you can expect:

Some examples are:

Why did the author choose for Spit to have a disease?

Why did the author have Spit die from a trolley accident instead of the disease?

Why did the author have the store bought trolley win?

Why did the narrator say that Spit had been dead and gone for ages at the end?

Why did the author choose to have the setting of the race near a cemetery?

Why did the boys tell spit he won at the end?


Next, I will go  through and eliminate the questions that aren't text based.  For example:  What was the name of Spit's disease?  or Will the driver go to jail?  

I also eliminate yes or no questions or any other that would be difficult to answer.  

Generating and answering questions is a prerequisite to citing evidence which is a cornerstone of CCSS.  Before students can analyze and use the text as support, they must be able to explore it through questioning.  Generating and answering questions also promotes critical thinking about the text.



Modifications and Adjustments:

Some of my classes had trouble coming up with questions that were open ended, so I ended up rereading the ending of the story to them.  I asked them to come up with questions as I was reading.  This helped them to really think about the significance of the ending and generated some awesome questions.  





Partner Share

10 minutes

 I read through the questions that are left with the students.   I ask each student to choose one question that they are curious about.  They will write the question on the top of an index card.

 Next, they will switch cards with the person next to them, and that person will respond to the question, referring to the text as necessary.  Once finished, the cards will go back to their original owners.  The owners will comment on the card in writing and add one new idea to the answer. Then, the partners will have a discussion over their questions and answers.

 I like this strategy because it provides some closure while hitting some big skills like citing evidence, listening, speaking, and of course generating and answering questions.