I acquired a set of coloring books called My Favorite Bank Book, An Educational Coloring and Activity Book, from my local bank branch. I did a lexile level analysis using lexile.com
I was actually surprised that the lexile number for this booklet was 800, until I noticed the sentence length. The words are very much second grade level, but the complex sentence structure raised the level of difficulty. However, background knowledge and motivation increases students comprehension, and we will be reading this in partners, individually and whole group. I am confident that my students will navigate this text building understanding.
I want the students to read this before our trip to the bank, so I collected the books that the bank usually included in the goodie bag ahead of time. I also found the link for the source and was intrigued by the many topics available.
The second anchor standard for Reading- Informational Text is to “determine the central themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.” The second grade standard addresses the second part of this anchor standard very clearly, and this text lends itself very well to an exploration and understanding of many paragraphs developing specific ideas around a main topic. But this little coloring book also is a vehicle to touch on the first part of the anchor standard. Second graders can identify the “central theme” this book clearly conveys, (that opening a savings account is a GOOD idea), so that will also be part of our discussion when we compare the information in individual paragraphs and in the booklet as a whole.
We gather to the rug. I begin by talking about our trip to the bank. If I wasn’t actually going to the bank with my students, I would hold a short discussion about visiting banks with parents, activating prior knowledge. I won’t spend an exhaustive amount of time on this; the CCSS encourage less dependence on prior knowledge and focus more on digging into the text. So that is what we will do.
“Today students, I have a booklet that was written and published for banks to give away to children just like you. Our job today is to take a good reader look at this book and figure out two things – one, what is the author telling us… what questions are being answered for us, and why did the author write this book for banks to give to children?"
I lead the students through the following steps:
After ten minutes, I begin the next part of the lesson.
· I go through each page, repeating the steps.
Next, I have the children close their books, open them and choral read the circled sentences. Read it that way again, only ask half the class to just listen. Then switch. The purpose of this is twofold. One, it gives the students an opportunity to hear the main topic of the text, and, two, it provides repeated reading which bolsters both fluency and comprehension.
Then tell the children that as you listened you were interested to hear many words used over and over.
Of course, My Favorite Bank Book might not be available for this lesson, but any short informational text with multiple paragraphs around the same topic or theme could be used for this activity. I was actually surprised at how closely the theme of this book was spotlighted by the most frequently used words.
Boys and girls, it seemed to me that there are words in this text that are specific or just specially used in this book about the bank. Let’s go on a scavenger hunt on each page. Look on the page with the word find. Read those words. Okay, now read the book again. Every time you see one of those words, put a little tally by it. I am curious to see how often the writers used the same words! If the word is used but has an ed or ing ending, that will count – like on the page about checks. Check and checking both count as a use of the word checking.
For the sake of time I divide the task, assigning each child to one page, making sure that all pages get covered. After another ten minutes stop the children.
I almost think we could tell what the author was going to teach us just from how many times those words were used!
If you have time, you can take a class composite count of each of the words. I wanted to stress words specific to the text. As itturned out, the four most frequently used words WERE the topic of the text!
I sure could tell this book wasn’t about how to cook hamburgers! Let’s see if you figured it out. Look - "Saving money in bank accounts!" Isn't that the topic of this book?
If you wish, ask partners to write a short definition of the word in their own words. They may look back in the booklet to check spelling!
Remind the children what our questions were at the beginning of the lesson.
Our job today was to take a good reader look at this book and figure out two things – one, what is the author telling us… what questions are being answered for us, and why did the author write this book for banks to give to children?”
Ask them to tell a neighbor what the book taught us. Then, ask them to tell their neighbor WHY the bank would buy that book and give it to children.
Enjoy the discussion!