Asking and Answering Questions About Our Story

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SWBAT ask and answer questions about the text.

Big Idea

Today's lesson is all about asking and answering questions so we can strengthen comprehension.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

     I am very excited to share this unit with you.  "Owl Moon" is a wonderful story that lends itself to so many great reading comprehension skills.  When I was planning this unit I decided to hone in on the author's craft and structure standards, making it a "double dose" of standards when we combined it with our poetry unit, since "Owl Moon" is a book written in rich prose, like poetry is written. I taught this unit in my reading block and taught my poetry unit in my writing block.  As I was giving instruction in this unit, I kept making connections in my student's learning  by referring back to their learning in their poetry unit as we kept encountering the same skills in this unit.

    I was excited that I could hone in on several different comprehension skills in this unit.  In  today's lesson we are going to hone in on asking solid text dependent questions that will aid students in understanding the story in a deeper way.  Students will also have their written response packet where they have to actually write their questions.  This addresses standard RL1.1.


     For today's lesson, you will need the book "Owl Moon" by Jane Yolen. If you are a Smartboard user you will need Owl Moon.notebook, if you are an Activboard user you will need Owl Moon.flipchar,t and you will need to make enough student work packets for each student in your class Owl Moon Student Work Packet.pdf.  Students will be using these work packets each day in the unit.

Asking Questions and Making Prediction About the Story- Guided Practice

15 minutes

     If you've read any of my other lessons, you know that I like to constantly switch partner groups around.  It benefits students to have them work with all their classmates - not just their good friends.  So before the lesson started I partnered up my students.  I have included some different resources for partnering up your students here PartnerPickingCards.pdf, here PickYourColorPartner.pdf , and here TheGrouperthefastandeasywaytogroupstudents.pdf.

    After partnering up my students I had them sit at the student tables and passed out student work packets.  I showed my students the book and stated the objectives for the lesson.  I said, "Today we are going to ask and answer questions about our story.  Asking questions about the story is something good readers do, in order to understand the story better.    We have a lot to do, so let's get started."

    I showed the book to my students and said, "We are going to be studying the book "Owl Moon.  Something that good readers do is ask questions about the story before, during, and after reading the story.  Let's look carefully at the illustrations on the front cover and think about the title." Then I turned to slide 3 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "Here is a list of words that start a question."  I made it a point to really explain how the 5 W's and H (How) were good questions to start with before they actually start reading.  I continued by saying, " I want you to take some time with your partner and discuss what questions you have about the story before we begin reading."  Students had a minute or so to discuss questions with their partner.   Then we shared our questions as a class.  This sharing benefits all students because they can hear others questions that they may not have thought of.  Once we shared as a class I said, "Read the first question with me on your student work packet." I wanted students to list at least 3 questions they had about the story.  Even if students didn't have many questions at first, since we had just shared as a class, students knew they were held accountable for those 3 questions. 

     After students had written their questions, I turned to page 5 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "Another good strategy readers use when they read is they make predictions. Think about the questions we just asked each other.  How can those questions help us make a prediction about the story?  I want you and your partner to predict what this story may be about."  Students had a few minutes to discuss their predictions with their partner.  Then we had a classroom discussion and shared our predictions.  Finally, we looked at the bottom of page 1 on our student response packet and the children recorded  their predictions on their papers.  You can see this sequence of events in this video Discussing and Writing Our Predictions.mp4.

Asking Questions to Determine the Author's Point of View

10 minutes

  After students were done recording, I continued to read.  After reading a few more pages, I turned to slide 6 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "We are now going to determine who is telling the story.  Let's look at some key words that we can find to help us. " I read the clue words for when the author tells the story and then I read the words for when the narrator tells the story. I said, " I am going to read this page again. Then partners can decide who is telling the story." After reading the page again, I gave partners a few minutes to discuss.  Then we had a class discussion and the class determined that the author (the little girl) is telling the story because they saw the clue words I, us, and my.  We went to the top of page 2 in the student packet and the students filled in their graphic organizer.  Then they had to answer the question at the bottom of page 2 on their student packet.  They had to answer the question in a complete sentence and justify how they knew by citing evidence (their clue words) from the story.

Asking Questions During Reading - Independent Practice With Partners

15 minutes

     We continued to read the story, and after I had read half the book I stopped.  I brought up the slide 8 again that had the words that started a question.  I said, "I will give you time to think of some questions about the story.  Remember, a good question is one where the reader will have to go back and look at the illustrations and the text in order to answer it.  It can also be a question that you ask because you wonder what will happen next in the story.  I want you to think about this as you are thinking about your questions.  You are responsible for coming up with 3 questions with your partner."  Once  partners had discussed their questions, they wrote their questions on their work packet.   You can see this portion of the lesson in this video Asking Questions During Our Reading .mp4

What Questions Do We Still Have? - Independent Practice

15 minutes

   I continued reading until I had finished the book.   After reading, I turned to slide 11 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "Good readers, ask questions about the story before, during, and after reading. I bet some of you still have questions about the story. Remember, a good question is one where the reader will have to go back into the text to answer or it can be a question about what the reader is still wondering about."   I gave my students an example.  I am an avid Harry Potter fan.  I told my students that there were 7 books, and at the end of the 7th book I still had questions.  I said, "I was still wondering what would Harry's job be now that he is grown up? Does he marry Ginny?  How many kids would they have? Where will he live now?" 

     I turned my attention back to the story at hand. I said, "This time I want you to look at  the board with those words that help you start a question. Think of 3 questions you may still have about the story.  You are to work alone this time.  I want to see what kinds of questions you can write on your own."  You can see my students writing their questions in the video here Writing the Questions We Still Have.mp4



5 minutes

     My students love doing Koosh ball closure.  All I really do for this closure is ask them questions about what we learned in the lesson, but when you add the element of throwing a koosh ball around - the fun begins in their eyes.  I started with the koosh ball I said, "The story said the night seemed to shine.  What caused that to happen?" I threw the ball to a student so they could answer.  I would keep asking questions and whoever had the ball threw it to someone new.  I asked:

  • Who is telling the story? How do you know?
  • Why does a good reader ask questions?
  • What makes a good question?