To ensure that third graders build a strong foundation in comprehension, I think it is important to expose students to reading strategies as often as possible. I also think it is important to break instruction of these strategies into smaller, more manageable pieces. This gives students the opportunity to grasp a strategy, building confidence in using it, before moving on to another strategy. This third lesson in a series of lessons aimed to help students use text evidence to answer questions, shows students how to use the evidence they’ve found to answer a text dependent question.
I tell students that I would like to review the skills and strategies we've looked at so far. As we began, students completed an activity that asked them to revisit summarizing after they read and locating key words in a question to guide them to identifying text evidence for a question. I did this using an interactive software program I purchased from Lakeshore called "Highlighting the Clues". This activity gives students a short passage to read with three text dependent questions to answer. It can be used on a desk top or a smart board and allows students to highlight phrases, underline clues and choose from multiple choice questions. I used it on my smart board so students could actively participate in the review as a whole group. This was a quick review of using clue words from the question, skimming the text for the clue words, underlining information from the text, and using it to answer questions.
as we begin this section, I present the following question to my students. “What do we do with this evidence now that we've found it?” To give students a look at how to formulate answers to questions, I show them a paragraph with a few text dependent questions. Similar to diagramming a sentence for parts of speech, I show students how to look at the words in the sentence and move them around to form a question. I also share with students that questions that ask "WHY" are usually answered with "because". We talk about "How" questions can be answered with "by". For example, Why was it hard for Erik to climb Mount Everest? It was hard for him to climb Mt. Everest because..... We also look at rearranging the words just as I did in the example. I show students this on the white board. We start with just looking at some questions. I ask students to share ways I can rearrange the words to form a statement. As well as use the question words as a guide to what answer words to use. Next, I model for students how to take the information we've found in a passage and add it to our answer starter. I tell students I like to call it that because it gets our answers started and all we need to do is finish it with the information we found in the text. To model, I enlist the help of the students to help me find the information in the text. I'm sure to ask them to help me find clue words to skim with and then we skim the text together. Lastly, I model for students how to attach the information from the text to our answer starters. We do a few more and then move on to some practicing of their own.
Now that I've modeled for students, I want them to try the task on their own. Students have been given text dependent questions about a non-fictional text that we've read before. This text lends itself well to text features including sections, captions, and diagrams. During this section, I show students one question at a time and give them time to use the strategies and the text features to answer the questions. Students are using dry erase boards so they can erase as they practice formulating answers to the questions. Instead of using guided reading today for this exercise, I wanted students to work independently as I circulated the room. I talked to individual students to see if they understood what to do and had conceptualized the process. I really wanted them to work through the process on their own so they could get comfortable with doing it without guidance from me. As students answered each question, we shared the answers as a class. Students were encouraged to explain where they found their answer and what they formulated the written answer.
As the lesson comes to a close, we come back together and discuss what we've done today. I ask students to explain how we use the information we find after skimming a text to answer a question and call on a few students to share.