Recent tests revealed students are often relying on their background knowledge when answering questions about a text instead of referring explicitly to the text. This lesson directs students to use a transparency laid over a textbook page to underline the answer with a dry erase marker as they answer questions in their reading guide.
I decided to go through the process of what good readers do when tackling a non-fiction text. I modeled how to read the heading and subheading and turn it into a question. I explained this helps readers anticipate what the author is trying to teach them. Then I modeled reading and answering the questions in the reading guide by underlining the answers in the text. I emphasizes that the information is found IN THE TEXT, including the captions and illustrations.
Each student was given a reading guide I’d created. The reading guide offered reminders to students to refer explicitly to the text as they worked. After I modeled answering the first two questions in the guide, I completed the rest of the page with students. Asking students to underline the answers to the questions forced them to rely on the text for the answers. It helped visual learners ‘see’ the answer and engaged tactile learners.
Students worked in pairs to complete the reading guide. I grouped students of slightly higher or lower reading abilities, so that higher readers could support lower readers. I made sure not to group students with big literacy gaps so as not to frustrate the higher level reader, who often becomes impatient and moves on in the work without their partner.
I circulated around the room and checked student answers as they worked. If students had written an incorrect response, I questioned them about where they found the answer. Was it in the text? Where in the text? This was their cue to reread to find and underline the answer.
Students were assessed on the number of correct responses in the reading guide. Correct responses demonstrated students referred explicitly to the text for the answers. 80% was considered mastery.
Students were given an index card on which the answered the following question: What was important about what you learned today? Referring explicitly to the text for answers is such an important skill that I wanted students to reflect on its use.