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Lesson Plan

Reading Informational Texts Using the 3-2-1 Strategy

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 45- to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Melissa Weimer

Waterford, Michigan


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will demonstrate comprehension of an informational article read from a magazine using the 3-2-1 strategy.

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Session 1

1. Write the topic of the article you are using on the board or on chart paper (for example, polar bears) [see Preparation, Step 2]. Ask students to share what they already know about this topic. Record what they share under the heading (for example, they are white, they live in cold climates).

2. Pass out a copy of the article you selected to each student. Make sure that each student has a pencil or highlighter as well.

3. Have students volunteer to read parts of the article aloud to the class.

4. After reading the text, tell students that they are going to learn a special strategy that they can use to help them understand something they read. The strategy is called 3-2-1.

  • The first step is to write "3 things we discovered." Write this heading on the board and ask students to go back through the text and underline or highlight three things they discovered. Then have each student share the three things he or she learned. Choose three things to write on the board (for example, polar bears live in the Arctic, polar bears mostly eat seals, and polar bears give birth to one to three cubs).

  • The second step is to write "two interesting things." Use the same approach as in the first step. (For the polar bear article, you might write, 25,000 to 40,000 polar bears live in the Arctic and polar bears can sneak up on their prey.)

  • Last, have students think of one question they still have about the topic. Have students share some of their questions. Write "1 question we still have" on the board along with one sample question (for example, How long do polar bears live?).
NOTE: Depending on the ages and abilities of your students, you will want to consider what you expect from their writing. With younger students who are beginning readers and writers, you may allow them to copy from the text the three things they discovered and the two things they found interesting. Older students and more advanced readers and writers could be expected to summarize what they read in their writing. While modeling the strategy, emphasize what you expect your students to do.

5. Inform students that in the next session they will be using the 3-2-1 strategy to read some magazine articles on their own.

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Session 2

1. Review with students the 3-2-1 strategy introduced in Session 1.

2. Tell students that they will each be selecting and reading an article from a magazine and using the 3-2-1 strategy to understand what they read.

3. Pass out at least one magazine or a selection of articles to each student (see Preparation, Step 1) and give students time to browse through the magazines to select an article. Allow students to share with one another during this process through conversation and trading magazines as needed.

  • If you have a small supply of magazines, you could photocopy individual articles from the magazines to distribute to students.

  • You may also want to pass out articles that are appropriate for individual student's reading levels or interests. For example, you might give an advanced reader a longer or more challenging article to read.

  • If enough computers are available and students are skilled in navigating the Internet, you might bookmark the online articles and have students browse and read them online.
4. After students have selected their articles, have them access the interactive 3-2-1 Strategy Chart online (or, if computers are not available, distribute a blank copy to each student). Have them complete the top of the chart by typing their name, date, and the title and source of their article.

5. Allow time for students to read their articles.

6. As students finish reading, have them work on completing the remainder of the 3-2-1 Strategy Chart. Remind students to print their chart when they are finished.

7. If some students finish before the end of the session, have them draw an illustration on the back of their 3-2-1 Strategy Chart to go along with their topic.

8. Monitor the students' reading and writing and provide assistance as needed.

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Session 3

When all students have completed their 3-2-1 Strategy Charts, allow time for them to share what they learned from reading their articles with one another in small groups or as a whole class.

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  • Have students research answers to the questions they still have.

  • Ask students to use the 3-2-1 strategy for a homework assignment or as a book report.

  • Modify the strategy for a specific text or topic, requiring students to read for particular information. For example, if you are reading a text about polar bears, ask students to list three things they discovered about the polar bear's diet.

  • Have students use the strategy when reading classroom magazines, such as Weekly Reader.

  • Assign students to write a report, and then have students read one another's reports using the 3-2-1 strategy.

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Comprehension of the informational text read may be assessed through the studentsí responses on the 3-2-1 Strategy Chart using the Informational Text & 3-2-1 Strategy: Assessment Rubric.

You may also have students complete the 3-2-1 Strategy: Self-Assessment Sheet.

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