To get my students motivated about learning, I allow students to browse some different issues of children’s nonfiction articles like “Time for Kids”, “Scholastic Kids”, “National Geographic for Kids”, and “Newsweek for Kids”. With the use of an Inspired Classroom, I was able to save digital copies of these articles to the desktops at each of my students' work stations. Students were able to browse each copy together as a group. Most schools have prescriptions to these in the library or you could have parents pay for a year’s prescription at the beginning of the year. We talked about the characteristics of the articles as I transitioned into the purpose of the lesson. I explain to students that today we’re going to read these articles and “think about reading” as we read them. I begin an anchor chart that reflects Determining Importance and how to think about reading. As we talk about thinking about reading, I pose this as a question on the anchor chart and answer it right on the chart as a reference for students. As we progress through the unit, we will add to the chart. After reviewing what we’ve placed on the chart, we move into the next section of today’s lesson, the mini-lesson.
To introduce students to determining importance, I decided to do a modeled reading where I showed students how to read with the goal of determining importance. Using an interactive article I found on “National Geographic Explorer”:
This link allows you to project articles for students on an interactive board or projector. During this modeled reading exercise, I will also show students through a think aloud how to be mindful of the thoughts that occur while reading, to think about any information that relates back to the title, and finally any information that supports the title. I began by restating the title as a question. I solicit the help of the students. The cool thing about these articles is they are interactive. If you have an interactive smart board, you can manipulate the article through highlights, etc. I read one of the sections of the article; I read aloud for students and say out loud the thoughts that “pop” into my head as I read. As I read, I highlight sections that may help me answer my “title” question and make notes in the margin of the article that reflect my thoughts. After I finish reading the article, we talk about my thoughts and I ask students if they had any thoughts. I then model for students how to use my thoughts and information in the text that can help me answer my “title” question. Next I ask students to summarize what I did during my think aloud. I make sure I do this, so students know what they should be doing while they are reading. This leads us to our guided reading section of the lesson, where students will practice thinking about their reading.
Guided Reading: Each day during our reading instruction, we work in small guided reading groups where students meet with me to learn and practice active reading strategies with a text that is on their instructional reading level. While I meet with my guided reading groups, the other students are working in literacy centers on activities that reinforce this unit’s focus strategies and standards. This section of our reading today is divided into the follow parts. Each part is done so students have a clear focus on the strategy they are learning and practicing.
Assessment: To help determine how to approach the next guided section with each group, I look at students articles and the thoughts they recorded as well as how accurate they were in answering their questions.
We come back together as a whole group, and we summarize how to “think about reading” and why it is important.