The Whipping Boy - Monitor Own Comprehension

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SWBAT cognitively monitor their own comprehension of a complex text.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students will learn how to become more self aware of their of comprehension and apply strategies to assist when struggling to comprehend the text.


Thinking About Comprehension

15 minutes

For this unit, we are focusing on comprehension strategies as we read the novel, "The Whipping Boy" by Sid Fleischman.  For this lesson we will learn about what it means to monitor our own comprehension.  To start the lesson out, I will gather the students on the carpet and ask them if they have ever been reading and think "Wow, my mind was wandering and I don't remember I thing I read!  It has happened to all of us.  Have you ever read a sentence and been thinking about it, but still had no clue what it meant?  This happens to all of us.  Even adults.  What can we do when we realize we are not understanding what we are reading?"

I will then list on the board the strategies the students come up with for improving comprehension of a text.  We will then discus the importance of continually thinking about our reading and monitoring whether we understand or not.  When we don't, it is time to try again with a strategy.  

Fleischman, S. (2003). The Whipping Boy. New York, NY : Greenwillow Books

Monitoring Our Own Comprehension Through a Mini Close Read

30 minutes

Now that we know that good readers monitor their own comprehension, I am going to give the students the opportunity to practice through a mini close read.  I have chosen the article "Testing the Five-Second Rule" by Kelli Plasket.  The article is found on the website.  This is a great resource for non-fiction articles.  They make great close reads.  We use them quite frequently in our small reading groups.

Before our close read, I will review with the students that I would like them to use their highlighters and pencils the same way we have done for close reads in the past.  They should underline with their pencil any sentences they feel are important in the piece, circle any important words, highlight any words they don't understand, and highlight any text they are unsure about.  Also, they should jot down any ideas they have as they read.  I will then show the students the comprehension checklist I have included in the resources. (I copied the checklist on both sides of the paper for each student.  One for the first read, and one for the second.)  I will ask the students to think about what they are reading as they read.  If they don't understand, they can apply a strategy to help them better understand.the answer as well.  After they have completed the article, I will have them complete the comprehension checklist.  I will remind the students to be honest while filling in the checklist.  There are no wrong answers.  

After the students have all had a chance to read through the article independently and fill out the comprehension checklist, I will then have the students re-read the article in a small group. I always remind the students of the value of a reread.  I tell them that there are several books I have read many times.  Each time I read, I pick up on something new that I didn't the previous times.  The details become more clear.  Sometimes I understand things I didn't understand at first.  As the students reread the article with their group, they will discuss any questions they still have with their group and then fill out the other side of the comprehension checklist.  (The idea is for students to realize that most likely they understood the text better the second time through.)

Monitoring Our Own Comprehension in "The Whipping Boy"

30 minutes

Now that the students have had practice with monitoring their own comprehension as they read, we will practice this skill as we continue to read "The Whipping Boy" by Sid Fleischman.  I will give the students a copy of the comprehension checklist which they fill out after we read chapters eleven and twelve of the novel.  

I will remind the students as they read, if they don't understand, they can use the strategies we have discussed to assist in helping them understand the text better.  

To wrap up the lesson, I will ask the students to share their thoughts on monitoring comprehension.  Did it help to think about it?  Will you think about your level of comprehension as you read in the future?


Fleischman, S. (2003). The Whipping Boy. New York, NY : Greenwillow Books