This lesson is the first of many about questioning. My students are able to ask lots of questions, but they tend to be literal. Using questioning to improve comprehension is not a reading strategy that they often employ. In this lesson, the students ask and answer to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text (RL.2.1), evidencing the shift in Common Core Standards toward using text details to improve comprehension. I also used the structure (RL.2.5) of the story (beginning, middle and end) to help students understand not only how a story is set up, but how each part of the story builds on the other. In our final discussion/reflection of the questions, several students noticed that some questions cannot be answered at the end of the story. As students understand story structure and how parts of a story are interrelated and build upon each other, they will become the 'close readers' that the Common Core Standards strive for.
I chose this book George Shrinks, because the text is simple and illustrations are wonderful. My goal is to really focus on how questions help the reader and when to ask questions. We'll be continuing to practice questioning with more difficult literature and informational text, but I wanted to start with easier text and focus on the strategy.
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.
Common starting point and get students engaged
You are modeling questioning and pre-reading for the kids. Often second graders immediately open a book and start reading without pre-reading. This is a critical skill that helps them bring in background knowledge and gets them engaged and interested in the story.
Give the purpose of the lesson
Introduce strategy - teacher models
Practice strategy - guided practice
Share what you know
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
Students with academic challenges should work with the teacher or a partner to write questions. It is typically a more difficult task for students with limited language. There is the opportunity for them to focus on grammar, as the student here who is prompted to make sure that the questions make sense.
Students with greater ability can excel in this task because they are challenged to 'think outside the box' with inferential questions. I would challenge them to use higher level vocabulary (tiny vs small/shrink vs smaller) and really write some great inferential questions that 'stump' the class.