Presidential Prose: Reading President-Themed Texts Closely (Part 1)

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SWBAT compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students start out comparing and contrasting the components of two texts on the same topic by reading the first text closely and identifying text components.

Enroll Students Into Learning

5 minutes

To begin the lesson, I ask the students in my class if they have ever considered what it would be like to be the president.  Many hands go up, as I had predicted, so I follow up with asking the student to turn and talk to their neighbors for a moment about what it would be like to become president.  As students begin to have conversations, I listen in.  This talking time is a great way to trigger and activate prior knowledge that I want the kids to connect with as we read through our informational text today.

Experience Learning

5 minutes

After a few moments, I regain the students’ attention using the “If You Can Hear My Voice…” strategy (see my “Strategy Folder” for more information).  I ask the kids to share some of their conversations with our class now.  The students raise their hands and take turn explaining what they and their neighbor discussed. 

Now that I have prepped the students on the topic we’ll be reading about today, I want o prepare them for the type of text we’ll be reading, so I flip to our anchor chart on informational text.  I tell the students that today, we’ll be reading an informational text about the presidents, but before we do, let’s remember what components we’ll encounter in an informational text.  We review the chart as students take turns explaining each component of the chart to our class.

Label New Learning

5 minutes

After we finish reviewing the components of the informational text anchor chart, we’re ready to read!  So I tell my students, “Okay third graders!  We’re ready to read!  As we’re reading through the informational text today, let’s try to identifying all of these same components from our chart!”  Now the students know that we’re going to read informational text (So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George) and our purpose is to look for and identify the components of this text using what we know about it’s text structure.

Demonstrate Skills

10 minutes

Students head back to their seats as our paper passers help pass out our text for today.  The text we’re reading today is So You Want to Be President? written by Judith St. George.  We start by making a few predictions about what might happen in this story, and then take a look through the text to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the text, illustrations, and any other text features we find.  I remind the students that today, we’ll be thinking about what the components of an informational text look like in this book: what’s the main idea, what details can we find to support the main idea, are there illustrations that are used to help the reader understand the text, are there additional text features that a reader could use to help understand the text or learn additional information, etc.  Then we start reading!  As we read, we stop and discuss the features we’re looking for!

When students are finished reading, I tell the students that their important work of finding the components within this lesson was great, and we’ll use their work in another way later this week, so I tell the students that we’ll need to make a few notes about what we’ve identified today.  As a class, with students leading the input, we take notes on the components of So You Want to Be President? on the “So You Want to Be President? Notes Page”.  As the students identify each component working through the chart, I make a note on the Smart Board and they make their notes on their own individual papers as well.



5 minutes

To close today, I want to explain to my students how their identifying of the components within today’s text will carry over into tomorrow’s work, so I explain that tomorrow, we will read another book that discusses some of our presidents as well.  I tell them what a great job they did today with their notes, and then we tuck our notes into our reading folders to save them for another day’s work!