A Detailed Report: Using Details to Support the Central Idea

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SWBAT determine the central message by exploring the plot.

Big Idea

How do I determine the author’s message?


10 minutes

As we take an even closer look at The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, in today’s lesson we’re looking at the author’s central message. This comes straight from the problem in the story and the conflict between the two main characters. To introduce the lesson I bring back the note taking sheet students used while watching the Lorax in the previous lesson and we take a look at what we have come up with. I ask students to analyze what happens in the story when the Onceler came along. We take a look at how this affects the story and so I ask students what does all this mean and why do you think the author decides to tell this story.


15 minutes

Going back to a previous story, I ask students to review with me the main idea of A Fine, Fine, Fine School. What is the problem here? After discussing the story briefly, I do a shared read with students as they look at their own copy and the copy on the smart board. Using the anchor chart Questions to Ask While Reading,  to drive our reading focus. We go through the story trying to determine what the author is trying to tell us through the characters and the events in the story. Thinking aloud, I show students how to determine what the central message is in this story. After determining the message, I look for evidence/details to support what the author is telling us in the story. 

Independent Practice

20 minutes

After the mini-Lesson, students do another close read of the story in an effort to find the central message in this story. Using the same note taking sheet students used watching the Lorax, students are asked to read with specific questions in mind to help them determine the message in the story. Students were asked to determine what the author is trying to tell them in the story. Students also have to supply evidence to support their findings. Students use this information to determine the central idea. They are able to record this on a  handout created for this activity. This time students will work independently to find the central message. 


5 minutes

After students are finished working, we come back together to wrap up the lesson. I ask students to share their thoughts on the author’s message. We determine the most accurate message and support it with evidence from the story.


Students note taking sheets serve as an assessment.