“Paying Attention to Detail” Determining Importance While Reading Non Fiction 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?


5 minutes

So far in this unit, we have only focused on looking at isolated sections of an article. In today’s lesson, we look at the entire article to get the big picture. But to get the big picture we have to look at the details. To introduce this lesson, we look back at the completed Anchor chart for Determining Importance. We review what we’ve learned and practiced so far. Today, we will tackle determining importance in the entire article. 


15 minutes

Today’s mini lesson will consist of another close read of the article we’ve been using as our anchor text throughout the unit. Each student has a copy of the article as we begin to dissect it. I’ve created a note taking sheet for us to use that students will later use on their own in their guided reading lesson. Our focus is to go back through our strategies and apply them to each section. I begin by asking students what we did with the title of the first section. My hopes were that students would remember that we turned the sections into questions and then set a purpose to read for details that help us answer the question. Using a copy of the sheet projected on the promethean board, we begin to formulate the title into a question. Next we read the section and I tell students to highlight or underline anything they think is important to the question. Students are also encouraged to write down any questions or things that pop into their head as they are reading. As we get through the section, we talk about what students underlined. We read through the information keeping only the information that helps us answer the question. Next, I model for students how to record the information into our note taking sheet. Afterwards we recap the steps we took making sure to relate back to the anchor chart as a reference. Now we move into our guided reading where students will have an opportunity to go through their own articles.

Guided Reading

50 minutes

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 stations on activities that reinforce 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- I build background information by asking students to think about all of the work students have done with article so far. I have students think about their Big Idea they established and the details and evidence they’ve collected. I want students to use this information as they go into determining the importance of the rest of the article. I have students go in and turn each section title into a question and record it in the top of the columns on their sheets.
  • During Reading- Now we’re ready to read the article. Using their note taking sheet, I ask students what should they do while they read. They say think as they read and try to find details that answer the question and support the answer. As students read they are encouraged to highlight the details that help them answer the question. During this time, I read with the group to get them started. To scaffold, I think aloud at points when I notice a detail. We stop and discuss thoughts that we have and ask ourselves if the information is important to the “big idea”. I then let the students turn and work with their neighbor. As students are working, I listen to students read redirecting where needed. I have brief conferences with the students in the group to see if they are able to determine the importance of the information in the text.
  • After Reading- After about 10 to 15 minutes, we stop reading and discuss our notes. I allow each pair to briefly share as we discuss students’ responses. We review again, the processes and strategies that we have put into practice. Students will need this as we move into them doing this on their own in tomorrow’s lesson.

Assessment: As students work through the sections of their article, I make anecdotal notes about how students process the text and are able to sift through the information and determine what is important. I also look at students note taking sheets to assess their responses.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

We always revisit our anchor chart. I think the repetition is very important to students grasping the thought that goes into determining importance in reading non-fictional text. We recap the process and it’s importance.