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Lesson Plan

Comparing Electronic and Print Texts About the Civil War Soldier

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Comparing Electronic and Print Texts About the Civil War Soldier

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Janet Beyersdorfer

Arlington Heights, Illinois


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



With the growing popularity of online research, many students may think that doing research in printed texts is a thing of the past. Is there a difference between looking for information in print and online texts? This lesson has students explore the answer to this question by responding to statements about a Civil War soldier's daily life, searching a website to confirm or refute these statements, and comparing the site's organization with that of a print text. Students then read a print article and compare the information it contains with that found on the website. Finally, they develop a chart of content and text structure similarities and differences between electronic and print texts. Although this lesson uses a Civil War soldier as an example, it can be adapted for use with any research or content area topic.

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Dymock, S. (2005). Teaching expository text structure awareness. The Reading Teacher, 59(2), 177181.

  • Teachers who provide explicit and systematic instruction assist students to develop reading comprehension strategies including expository text structure awareness.

  • Children with a good understanding of expository text structure have fewer problems with comprehension.


Kymes, A. (2005). Teaching online comprehension strategies using think-alouds. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 48(6), 492500.

  • Students should be taught to comprehend the process of information selection, evaluate the quality of the content presented, and think metacognitively about their seeking strategy.

  • When explicit instruction in comprehension strategies for online texts occurs, students realize that these are steps that good searchers and good online readers use.


Sutherland-Smith, W. (2002). Weaving the literacy Web: Changes in reading from page to screen. The Reading Teacher, 55(7), 662669.

  • Web literacy demands an incorporation of key reading or navigation skills.

  • Successful online reading requires evaluation of text and nontext (graphics, multimedia, and images) as students must differentiate between important visual images and mere beautification of sites.

  • The Internet provides opportunities to extend thinking skills beyond the hierarchical, linear-sequential model that serves so well in the world of print text; the Web's multimedia elements add to the visual literacy skills that students require.

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