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Lesson Plan

Developing a Living Definition of Reading in the Elementary Classroom

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Developing a Living Definition of Reading in the Elementary Classroom

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Amy Mozombite

Largo, Florida


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



Students investigate the reading process and end up with a working definition of reading using different types of books. Each student brainstorms what it means to be a successful reader. Based upon shared findings and discussions, students then create a living definition of reading. This definition can be posted and revised as more is learned about reading during the year.

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Creating a Living Definition of Reading on the Internet: Students use this interactive tool to examine and record information about a variety of text-based Websites.

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In Conversations: Strategies for Teaching, Learning, and Evaluating, Routman states, "Strategies are the thinking, problem-solving mental processes that the learner deliberately initiates, incorporates, and applies to construct meaning"...When teaching for strategies, we build on the child's existing foundation of what he knows and show how him how to connect that knowledge to new situations." (130)  Reader's Handbook: A Student's Guide for Reading and Learning suggests that reading is a tool, a skill, and an ability (24) and that the reading process is like a "road map leading you through different kinds of reading, making sure you don't get lost" (37). This lesson asks students to brainstorm strategies for reading several different types of books.

Further Reading

Routman, Regie. 2000. Conversations: Strategies for Teaching, Learning, and Evaluating. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.


Burke, Jim, Ron Klemp, and Wendell Schwartz. 2002. Reader's Handbook: A Student Guide for Reading and Learning. Wilmington, Massachusetts: Great Source Education Group.


Atwell, Nancie. 1998. In the Middle: New Understandings about Reading, Writing, and Learning. Portsmouth, N.H.: Boynton/Cook.


McClure, Amy and Janice Cristo, Eds. 2002. Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for Pre-K-Grade 6, 13th Ed. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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