Slow Down and Pay Attention: Using Details to Comprehend

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SWBAT use details to form theories about issues in books and the way characters relate to the issues.

Big Idea

Students often read over quickly the details in the parts that seem slow. Those might be the most important ones to pay attention to.


5 minutes

The character's perspective is really important to the plot of the story. Students practice reading with an eye on the character and what they say and think. However, it is also important to pay attention to the details around them, the actions of other or the description of the changing setting. For some students and in some books, these places in the story can seem to go really slow without a lot of action. In this lesson, I ask students to slow down with the book and pay even closer attention to the information the author is giving the reader. It will help them better imagine the places in the book and what the author is making important.



Main Activity

30 minutes

To model how to pay attention to the text, I remind students of a part of the read aloud book that we've read recently. I ask them to summarize what that part was about. Most students can pick out the main point. In this book, the main character was excited to be walking to school. Because it was a long walk to school, the main character was day dreaming. This was all students could say. Some of them described the setting but with no specific details. 

I reread the section, thinking out loud about the details that I missed or didn't remember the first time. I wrote them down, adding why I think the detail might be important. Students help me add to my list as I continue to read the part out loud.

On their own, they read or read the book club books and pay very close attention to parts of their book that doesn't seem to have a lot of action or seem to slow down. Not only should they pay attention to the section, noting details, but also interpreting how those details might be important to the story.


10 minutes

To close the lesson, students meet briefly with their book club group and share one thing they noticed. They need to also choose at least one thing a member of the group noticed (more if there is time) and return to the section of the book from which that idea came from. The group can then all interpret the details in that section and grow their ideas as a group. If they discover something new, they can add that to the list in their journals.