Assessing Key Details with Unfamiliar Text

Print Lesson


SWBAT identify the key details of unfamiliar literary text.

Big Idea

Good readers can apply known information to new situations.


5 minutes

Summary and Context

Assessing students is a big component of my teaching practice. There are different ways I assess, both formal and informal. Today, I am choosing to assess my students in an informal but authentic manner. We are ending our unit on Relationships. We have read various texts, and I have taught my students to identify and comprehend the key details of narratives.

To assess their mastery of this skill, I am having them choose a narrative at their grade level, read it, and draw a story map to demonstrate how they are able to identify the key details of the narrative. I will walk around and monitor their work. 

Lesson Opening:

I share the objective and give them the instructions. I have placed bins at each table. Each student will choose a book from that bin. Thus, I dismiss students from each table at a time from the rug. In this way, there is less traffic returning to their seats.

Choosing a Selection

3 minutes

Once everyone is at their seats, I give them three minutes to choose. I feel this is an appropriate amount of time and will not prolong the situation for too long. I don't want students to take too long and become distracted from the objective. And, again my timer works great in letting them know how much they have. It helps also that I walk around and encourage them to choose quickly.

Independent Reading

12 minutes

I set the timer again. This time, the timer is set to 12 minutes. I review with my students the expectations for behavior that I want to see as they read. I will walk around to monitor their progress.

As they begin to read, I draw a story map template on the white board. After the 12 minutes, I will call for their attention again, and they will use this template to create their own maps.

The students are reading text at their reading level, so I expect them to be completely engaged and not need support with the reading. They may need support staying on task, though.

It is important to know our students. I know my students benefit from receiving small chunks of information at a time. I know my students benefit from repetition. I know my students are visual learners. That is why at the end of the independent reading time, I will draw their attention to the board, review what they need to do, and answer any questions they may have.

Independent Writing

15 minutes

As students were reading, I pass out the white sheet of paper to each student.

Before they begin their writing, I go over what is expected of them and review each part they are to do with the story map.

As students work on their story maps, I walk around to offer assistance in drawing the story map. This is an assessment, so I will not be giving guidance about where to locate the key details.

I can easily offer my students a sheet with a story map already created for them, but I decided against it. My students need to work on improving their fine motor skills. This is an opportunity to get this type of practice. It will be interesting to see how each student interprets the story map, too.

When students are done, they are to turn in their work in to me.

Here are examples of their work:

Here is a compilation of their work: What Are The Stories About?