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Lesson Plan

Developing Inferential Comprehension Through DL-TA and Discussion Webs

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time One 60-minute session
Lesson Author

Tina Marie Giannone-Varano

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Before reading (5 minutes)

During reading (35 minutes)

After reading (20 minutes)


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Make predictions about the text

  • Form individual interpretations of the story

  • Respond to a story-specific statement using a Discussion Web

  • Provide supporting reasons for both sides of a story-specific issue

  • Discuss the reasons for their thinking

  • Justify their reasons and thinking in writing

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Before reading (5 minutes)

1. Introduce the book Granddaddy's Gift. To activate prior knowledge, discuss the kinds of gifts students have received from their grandparents and on what occasions.

2. Initiate a discussion about the book by asking questions such as:

  • What do you think this story will be about? Why do you think so?

  • What do you think Granddaddy's gift will be? Why do you think that?

  • To whom will he give the gift?

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During reading (35 minutes)

1. Identify five or six stopping points in the story where students will make predictions.

2. At the point in the story where Granddaddy learns that he must pass a test to be allowed to register to vote, discuss the following questions:

  • What does the word vote mean?

  • How does a person go about voting?

  • Why would someone want to vote?
3. After the discussion, pair students and provide each pair with a copy of Granddaddy's Gift Discussion Web. Ask students to consider whether or not they agree with the following statement:
Little Joe's granddaddy should have to take a test to be able to vote.
4. Have students work with their partners for approximately five minutes to think of reasons why Granddaddy should have to take the test and reasons why he should not have to take the test.

5. Ask students to argue both sides of the issue and list their reasons on the Discussion Web.

6. After the partner activity, have students form groups of four and spend 10 minutes presenting each member's opinion and justification. Ask students to form a group consensus as to whether or not Little Joe's granddaddy should have to pass a test to vote.

7. A spokesperson from each group will present the group's view and reasons for their thinking.

8. Tally the yes and no responses to determine the general opinion of all the groups in the class.

9. After this exercise, ask students the following questions:

  • Do you think Granddaddy will take the test? Why do you think so?

  • Now what do you think Granddaddy's gift will be? Why do you think that?

  • To whom do you think Granddaddy will give his gift? What makes you think that?
10. Ask students to predict how the story will end. Write students' responses on the sheet of chart paper marked with the heading, "Predictions for Story Endings."

11. Ask students to narrow down the endings to two or three, and have them vote on the ending they agree with. Then have them finish reading the story.

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After reading (20 minutes)

1. Compare the ending of the story with the students' predictions.

2. Initiate a discussion by asking the following questions:

  • What was the gift that Granddaddy gave?

  • To whom did Granddaddy give the gift?

  • When and why should people vote?

  • Why is it important to vote?
3. End the lesson by discussing how the class used voting throughout the story.

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  • Invite students to work in small groups to complete a DL-TA and Discussion Web following the same format as Granddaddy's Gift; however, have students use a nonfiction story such as Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell (Harpercollins Juvenile Books, 2000). ASTAL provides other picture books and chapter books for older students in their annotated bibliography of Literature of the Civil Rights Movement.

  • The story Granddaddy's Gift focuses on the themes of courage and determination. Invite each student to write a personal narrative about a time when he or she needed determination and endurance to overcome a difficult situation. Invite students to share their stories with their classmates.

  • This lesson can be used as an introduction to a research assignment. Students can research famous Americans who faced and overcame adversity due to discrimination based on race, sex, or age. Students can also research Martin Luther King's role in the fight for civil rights. This list of Martin Luther King, Jr. websites might be used to find information about King's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement:

  • Teachers can use this story to introduce students to the voting process and to teach students the importance of voting. Incorporate voting into everyday activities to allow the voices of all students to be heard. The Education World article, "Use Children's Literature to Teach About Elections: Ten Books Get Our Vote!" offers suggestions on how to use children's literature to teach about elections.

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  • Observe and assess each student's involvement in the Discussion Web activity using the Discussion Web Rubric.

  • Evaluate each student's ability to provide reasons for his or her thinking.

  • Keep anecdotal notes on each student's ability to use inferential thinking to comprehend and discuss the story.

  • Observe whether each student participated in the before, during, and after reading discussions.

  • Observe whether students are able to work well with partners and in small groups during the reading and writing activity.

  • Evaluate students' written responses to check for construction of meaning.

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