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Lesson Plan

Research Building Blocks: Hints about Print

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Research Building Blocks: Hints about Print

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 60 minutes
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Instruction & Activities

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • use a variety of graphic organizers to connect important ideas in text to prior knowledge and other reading.

  • demonstrate an accurate understanding of information in the text by focusing on the key ideas presented, linking them to previous experience and knowledge.

  • interpret concepts or make connections through analysis, evaluation, inference, and/or comparison.

  • use text structure to determine the importance information.

  • use text aids to locate information in a book.

  • use an organizational system to locate information.

  • analyze information.

  • discriminate between relevant and irrelevant information.

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Instruction & Activities

Selecting Print Sources

  1. Students can learn a great deal about which sources will help them find information by looking carefully at the full anecdotal records at the library search station. Begin this lesson by having them work together to complete the Selecting Sources activity sheet.

  2. Follow up with a discussion asking why some of the books would be useful, why others would not, and why some might need to be investigated further. Point out how titles can be helpful, though some may not. Annotations (or lack thereof) can be of use, as can be dates of publication.

  3. After looking at the book abstracts, facilitate a discussion with the students about what makes a book useful. Guide them in their brainstorming and compile a list of characteristics they would use while looking at a book as a research tool.

  4. The next step is for the whole class to carefully examine an information book. This exercise will help students to ask themselves questions about information sources, enabling them to make informed decisions about materials that could be good sources on research report topics. Have the students create a checklist from their brainstormed list or use an already created evaluation form like the ones provided in step 6 below.

  5. Begin the examining process by modeling the use of a book review form with an information book you are using with your class. Alternatively, have students go through the demonstration portion of the Hints about Print student interactive. This step will help the students be more prepared to evaluate sources by themselves.

  6. After modeling the process for the class and/or having the students view the online demonstration, select some sources that they can evaluate in pairs at a learning center, using their checklists and/or a Nonfiction Book Evaluation or a Nonfiction Book Review form. The Evaluation Form is also available online in the "Try It!" portion of the Hints about Print student interactive.

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As this is only one step in teaching the research process, students need not be graded on the activity. However, peer review of their filled out Nonfiction Book Evaluation or Nonfiction Book Review would provide helpful feedback for the students as they seek out other sources for their projects. Teacher observation could best assess how well the students evaluated print sources.

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