“What’s Important Here?” Determining Importance in Non-Fictional Text

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SWBAT determine what is important for them to know about the topic they are reading about.

Big Idea

How can I determine what is important and what is not when I read nonfiction text?


15 minutes

Today we are continuing our look at determining what is important to our topic as we read informational text. I introduce today’s lesson by taking a look at the anchor chart we started in the previous lesson, "Thinking About Reading". Yesterday, I talked with students about thinking about what we read. I would like for students to begin looking at details from the text and determining what is important for them to take away from the text.  “What’s really important here?” This is what I ask my students. I call on various students to list things they feel is important. To redirect students’ thoughts I tell them that what is important is,  to look at details that relate back to the title. In yesterday’s lesson, we set a purpose to read by looking for information that helped us answer the question we created from the lesson title. For example, we were reading an article from “National Geographic Explorer’s digital article library


Our lesson focused on the first section of the article “The hunt”. Today we are going to read with the purpose of paying attention to the details or information that helps us support our answer to the “title” question. We take another look at the anchor chart, I add in that we should look at our title as a question and focus our reading on answering that question. Pay close attention to the details that support the answer to the “title” question. 


15 minutes

Today, I will do a shared reading with students. Each student will have a copy from yesterday as we do a Close re-read of the text. We will continue to focus on the same section of the article. I continue to use the interactive version of the text.


I approach the shared reading with the I do, We do, You do method. I model for students how to read with the purpose of reading for details to support my answer. I find a detail and jot it down in the response sheet from yesterday’s lesson (see resources). Next, we continue to read and I have students alert me with a show of hands as we read when they see a detail. I fill this detail in on the response sheet. Finally, I have students to continue to read on their own and raise their hand when they find another detail. I call on several students to share as we decide on what is the most important. We record this detail as well. After reviewing the process, we move into guided reading.

Guided Reading

50 minutes

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.

  • Before Reading- Prior to reading the leveled article, we review some of the domain specific vocabulary and how to use context clues to figure out the meaning of words we don’t know while we’re reading. We also review the mini-lesson and how to look for important information.
  • During Reading- The focus during this part of the lesson is for students to set a purpose to read by looking for details that support the answer to the “title” question. Students created and answered this question yesterday. While students read to themselves, they will put star stickers next to information they fell is important and supports the answer to the question. While students are reading, I will listen to individual students read and talk with them about the information they think is important.
  • After Reading- When students finished, I had them fill in their important details on their Thinking About Reading Response sheet (see resources). After students finished, I had them talk to their neighbor about their responses. I asked students to really think about their neighbor’s responses and determine if they felt they had the right details. Afterwards, we discussed the students’ choices and filled in the correct details that supported the answer to our question.

Assessment: Afterwards, we discussed the students’ choices and filled in the correct details that supported the answer to our question. 

Wrap Up

10 minutes

To sum up today’s lesson, we referred back to the anchor chart and talked about how to look for the details that were most important.