I begin this lesson by placing several books at the students work stations to browse. The books are all informational books about various topics. Within the topics, I also included books about topics students have explored in Science and Social Studies. I also made sure that students had books that showcased text features so that we could talk about the characteristics of non-fictional texts. I brought the browsing to an end and facilitated a discussion about the characteristics students saw in the books at their work stations. Next, we move into how to read non-fiction.
So I began the modeling section with a question; Is it harder to read non-fiction text than fiction? We took a poll to see what students thought. Most students said it was harder because most of the stories have lots of big words in them. I told students I agree and because of that we would spend some time this week learning how to be better readers of non-fiction text.
I introduced students to the anchor text which is a non-fiction text. The story is The Albertosaurus Mystery by T.V. Padma.
Padma, T. V. The Albertosaurus Mystery: Philip Currie's Hunt in the Badlands. New York: Bearport Pub., 2007. Print.
We looked at the text and talked about the characteristics of it. Next, I told students that I wanted to read for them and show them how good readers read non-fiction text. I begin with a shared reading where I focus on asking questions about what I am reading. I read a short passage of the text. You can use any text, I chose to use a story from our textbook because we have multiple copies for students to use through out the lesson. I modeled for students using the "Think Aloud" strategy as I asked questions through out my reading. After I finished the passage, I went back in the passage and re-read for students so they could see me answer the questions I generated. In past lessons we put our questions on sticky notes, but this time I wanted students to see how this is done mentally.
After modeling how to do a second read, I modeled for students how to verbally summarize what I had read. We revisited how I read the passage and laid out steps to the process for students to use as they moved into practicing with a text of their own.
To give students more guidance and practice with reading non-fiction text, I meet with small groups of students and guide them through asking and answering questions. I also guide them through verbally summarizing what they've read. Using leveled readers that are on the groups' instructional reading level, students read a section of their passage using the strategies from the modeling lesson. I instruct students to think about what, why, and how as they read the text. Students work with their group to read the passage and complete an activity that asks them to summarize briefly what they have read. I model again briefly with the first section of the passage. I emphasize re-reading for understanding and to answer the questions that arise while reading. Students then go on to read the remainder of the passage asking and answering their questions as they read along. Students then summarize the sections that they've read. I stop after each section and have students verbalize a summary.
Students are then asked to write a summary for each section. When students finish, we discuss the passage and talk about how we read the passage. To finish up the lesson, I give each group a question that pertains to their reading to answer. I encourage students to use what they've learned from the text and to look for clues in the story that will help them answer the question. We talk about students responses when they are done. I also collect the student's responses to assess if students understood the text and to guide the next lesson.