After passing out the passage, “Exploring South Africa,” I asked students to preview the passage and notice important aspects of the passage. Some noted that sections were blocked; it looked like there were tabs or categories listed at the top of the page. We discussed why this passage would be set up in this manner. Some mentioned that it might be easier to read, finally someone suggested maybe it is a website. After agreeing that it was a website, we spoke about pre-reading strategies that we practiced using in the past and was it possible to apply these strategies to this passage. Students then previewed the site before reading.
Non-Fiction Pre-reading strategies:
read the title, sub-titles
review bold/highlighted words
look at pictures and read the captions
read side-bars, charts, maps, and/or other segregated informational text.
Students read the information independently marking the text using Metacognitive Markers that they have used throughout the school year. They have this resource glued in the notebooks for easy reference when needed. They circled words that were unfamiliar to them and highlighted information that supported the bold-printed sub-topics.
When they finished reading and marking the text, we discussed the meanings of the unfamiliar words discussing connections possibly made to similar words or have other students seen these words or used them, etc.
After reading and discussing the web-site, as a class we turned to the second page. Students previewed the map of Africa; I asked them what are some of the details you notice about this map? As a whole group, students identified the information: imaginary lines, longitude and latitude lines, country boundaries, names of countries, oceans.
Students independently answered the comprehension questions found after the text. This was practice inn preparation for state testing. If students had difficulty choosing an answer, they used the elimination strategy that we previously practiced.
In their small groups, students discussed the answers. If they disagreed, they referred to their elimination strategies to validate the reasoning involved with selecting the answers.