"I'm Thinking Of...." Actively Reading with Margin Notes

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SWBAT monitor their thinking while reading by taking notes as they read.

Big Idea

Students will be able to recognize the importance of actively reading and monitoring what you are thinking while you are reading. The idea is for students to relate this to effectively comprehending what they are reading.


10 minutes

This lesson was intended to help students actively read through annotating a text. I began the lesson with a shared reading. Using a Scholastic Kids News Article, I posted a copy on my smart board and began to read it aloud to students. When using these articles, I usually just Google archived articles fro 3rd grade. The purpose of this portion of the lesson was to model a think aloud with students as they read non-fiction text. During this time. I read the lesson aloud. I began by reading the title aloud and then making a note of my prediction of what the article was about based on the title. As I read the beginning of the article I referred to the anchor chart (see resources) we created in a previous lesson that gives us questions to guide our reading. I chose several of the questions and as I could answer a question, I annotated it in the margin of the article. I also wrote down facts that I thought were important from the text. I thought aloud explaining to kids why I choose the facts.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

After I modeled for students my thoughts aloud, I had students follow the same process on their own. I gave students a typed copy of an article from the students magazine that I asked parents to prescribe to at the beginning of the school year. I typed the article so that students could make notes in the margin of the article. I allowed them time to read the article and make notes in the margin of the article. I told students to make sure they are using the guiding questions about main idea and events from the chart to drive their reading. While students are working, I circulate the room to work with students who need extra guidance.

Modeling Two

5 minutes

Next, I had students refer back to my notes. Here I showed students where I had completed reading the article on my own and had jotted down notes in the margin about my thoughts and facts I thought were important. Then, I had students look at some questions that were on the back of the page. Together, we looked at the first question. I ask students to skim my notes and see if any of the notes I took could help me answer that question. Most of the students said yes. Ok, well what should I do? Students said I should go back to that section where the notes were that pertained to the question and use the information to help me answer the question. So I modeled reading the section aloud and re-reading my notes. I then asked students to help me formulate an answer for that question. Together we answered the question.

Independent Practice

10 minutes

After modeling answering a question using my notes, I had students practice doing the same thing with a set of questions. The questions dealt with main idea of the text and details that support the main idea. Students were asked to answer the question using the notes they took in the margins of the article.

Wrap Up/Closing

10 minutes

As we came back together to close out the lesson, I had students share their answers and the notes they took that helped them answer the questions. Later, we discussed how taking notes helped students answer their questions. I asked students if they felt more confident in their answers after the activity and also asked what were their thoughts on the activity. I wanted students to understand that reading actively and taking something away from your reading, helps you respond to questions about the text more effectively.