*I chose this series because it has great pictures and a variety of text features. The text level is mid-second grade and it had information that we were currently studying in Social Studies.
Reading texts in social studies and science helps the students build a foundation of knowledge in these areas to make them better readers in other content areas. The cross disciplinary focus with the Standards encourages teachers to use texts from other subjects in reading lessons, which ultimately benefits the students as they are exposed to vocabulary and concepts and generalize them throughout the day.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.
Bring students to a common learning point
Provide background to the topic
I also use these 'Informational Text Feature' picture prompts for the text features since there are so many different features (caption, quote, graph, chart......) My goal is to eventually take away the pictures once my 2nd graders remember what each feature is without the picture prompt. As students have the opportunity to learn and use various text features and locate key facts or information in a text efficiently (RI.2.5), I am creating carefully structured situations that allow them to solve problems and answer questions independently, which is one strategy I use to teach to the Common Core State Standards.
Model the skill
It’s important to model this questioning strategy for students to ensure they are asking and answering a variety of questions-not just ‘who’ and ‘what’. The questions need to have a purpose – to find information in the text and the answers should lead to questions that can be answers by the words or illustrations. Asking and answering these questions encourages students to read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and cite specific evidence to support conclusions. (RI.2.1) This allows the teacher to facilitate that learning process instead of just disseminate information and encourages students to draw on their own abilities to discover answers instead of relying on adults to supply the facts. The first of these is a key shift in the Common Core Standards, and the second is how I feel I can make my students become the most independent and successful with this level of rigor. My students have needed considerable practice to really be able to become skilled questioners, but I feel this practice will pay off once they are able to use questioning as a helpful reading strategy.
The focus on questioning with the support of text evidence (RI.2.1) represents a shift in the ELA Common Core toward 'close reading'. Students are expected to pull information from the text and illustrations to not only answer questions, but provide evidence that their answers are correct. Teachers should model how to use text features to garner information that supports or add to the text. (RI.2.5) There are a variety of text features in informational text and students and citing evidence to ask and answer text-dependent questions represents a shift in the Common Core Standards.
Students read their text
Students write the questions
The ability to write questions can still be challenging for some students. Working with a buddy or using a slate at their desk to provide models will make this easier for students who are struggling.
It's important to gauge student ability by asking them questions that show how they ‘know what they know’. Instead of just asking for answers, ask them how they chose their answers or how the questions helped them comprehend better. The goal is for the readers to become introspective – understanding how to get information and how the information helps them so they generalize the reading strategies to other texts.
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
Students with reading or language challenges will need to work with the teacher or a partner to read. They will need lots of support to ask and answer questions because questioning is typically very difficult for these students.
Students with more ability should be able to ask deeper questions about the topic. Encourage them to write questions that ask the reader to analyze a text feature or look deeper into the text. Although they may need prompting and an example, it’s worth challenging them to use higher language and sharpen their questioning skills.