By this point of the unit, students know that good readers question the text and that we look for answers to our questions in order to learn more and develop our understanding. However, they have limited ways of finding answers to the questions they create.
This lesson is for students that need more strategies that help them find answers to their questions.
I introduce this lesson by asking students to help me create a list of ways we find answers to our questions. This is also a way to quickly assess what skills students already have. The most common strategy students offer is "read on" or "look it up". It is true that "reading on" does often answer our questions but what happens when that does help either.
I choose a new nonfiction text, either a book or an article that is grade level appropriate to model this lesson. As I read, I record questions I have, reminding students that good readers pay attention to what they are thinking when they are reading. I model a variety of strategies, including some they shared, such as reading on to find answers to my questions.
Some of the strategies I emphasize are:
- Read on
- Infer using clues from the text
- reread or go back and read
- discuss or ask a friend
- do some more research by reading another book on the topic
- make a text-to-text connection
After I demonstrate and identify a few of these strategies, I demonstrate a few more and ask students to describe what I did as I add the new strategies to a list.
After students have watched how each of the strategies could be used, they get a chance to try it on their own.
Each student should have their own nonfiction text, whether it be an article or a book. They should record their questions, answers, and the strategy they used to help answer their question. This can be overwhelming for developing readers. One thing that those students can do is to write their questions, read on for fun and enjoyment and then return to their questions to write down answers and what they did. Sometimes they didn't even use a strategy until they reviewed their questions.
After students have had time to read and record, they share what they have learned and how they learned it with a peer.
Finally, after students have had a chance to share, I ask the class for any other strategies that had been added to the list.