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Lesson Plan

Using the Internet to Facilitate Improved Reading Comprehension

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

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

Kellie C. Ellis

Kellie C. Ellis

Harlan, Kentucky


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Instruction and Actvities


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Predict the content of a web-based article in order to strengthen their inferential language ability

  • Evaluate the accuracy of their predictions in order to improve critical thinking skills

  • Discover the usefulness of a web-based technology in order to extend their appreciation of new literacies

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Instruction and Actvities

1. To activate background knowledge and create interest, ask students if they visit websites to seek new information. Ask students what websites they visit most frequently, allowing them to comment on their favorite websites. As students respond, ask them to be specific as to why they like the websites they do and to indicate how much time they spend each day looking for new information on the Internet.

2. Explain to students that there is an online tool that allows Internet users to save time when seeking new information. Show students the video "RSS in Plain English." After watching the video, ensure that students possess understanding of RSS by asking questions, such as: 

  • "What is the old way to find information on the Internet?" (The old way is to visit websites individually and look to see if new information has been added.)

  • "How is using RSS feeds faster than the old way?" (When you use RSS feeds, updates about the new information are sent to you. You don't have to visit each website to find out if there is something new.)

  • "What are the two steps you must follow to use RSS feeds?" (Sign up for an RSS reader. Go to your favorite websites and subscribe to their RSS feeds.)

  • "How could you use RSS feeds at school?" (You could use RSS feeds to help gather information on a topic you are studying.)

  • "How could you use RSS feeds at home?" (You could use RSS feeds to make sure you are staying up to date about a favorite topic.)
After students answer these questions, allow them to ask their own questions regarding the use of RSS.  Some questions students may ask include: "How do you find out if a website has an RSS feed?" and "What do you do if you can't find the symbol for an RSS feed on a website?" Appropriate responses to these questions would be, "You can look for the orange RSS icon or symbol for your RSS reader on a website" and "If you don't see an icon or symbol, you can copy the website's address and paste it in your RSS reader under the ‘add post' or ‘add subscription' option."

3. Open the RSS reader website you created in Preparation, Step 2, then click on the RSS feed from the website you selected in Preparation, Step 3.

4. Hand out the T-chart to each student. Explain to students that they will predict the content of the post or article advertised in the RSS feed. Inform students that the ability to guess or predict the content of an article is an important skill for learning and reading in any subject, not just when using the Internet. Explain that making predictions helps to activate prior knowledge about a topic and may make understanding what you read easier. As an example, have students predict the content of the National Geographic Kids post, "Pandas, Kites, Acrobats & Other Cool Stuff" or "Experiencing Traditional Japan." Instruct students to record their predictions under the "My Predictions" portion of their T-charts. As a group, have students discuss their predictions. Record students' predictions on chart paper under the "Our Predictions" section of the T-chart.

5. Depending upon the reading ability of students and the reading level of the article selected, read the article aloud to students or instruct students to read the article independently.

6. Ask students to evaluate the accuracy of their predictions. Have students record on their T-charts if they believe their predictions were accurate or inaccurate. Ask students to discuss the group predictions aloud and record their responses on the chart paper. If students were incorrect, explain that thinking about the key words in the post or thinking about what they know about the topic may help in making more accurate predictions.

7. Use a think-aloud strategy as you model how to predict the content of the sample National Geographic post "Experiencing Traditional Japan" as follows: "The title says ‘Experiencing Traditional Japan.' I'm thinking the article must be about the country of Japan.  The title also says ‘experiencing.' I know that to experience something, you have to do something yourself.  So, I'm thinking the article must be written by someone who has either visited Japan or learned about Japan. The title also says ‘traditional.' I know that traditional means an old or accustomed way of doing something. So, I'm predicting that the article is about someone who went to Japan and learned about its history."

8. Have students discuss if they believe the RSS headline accurately depicted the content of the post or article. If students believe that the RSS headline inaccurately depicted the content of the article, ask them to develop a headline they believe is more reflective of the article's content.

9. Instruct students to repeat Steps 3-8 for an RSS post from a website you chose that corresponds to a recently taught lesson.

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  • Instruct students to compare and contrast RSS headlines to the titles of other literary genres (i.e., books or articles in a classroom magazine).

  • After completing a reading assignment, instruct students to create a headline or title for an RSS feed.

  • Create an RSS feed for the class or school website that would distribute student writing to subscribers (e.g., parents, administrators).

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  • Observe dialogue between students to ensure students are conversing about the selected topic and that predictions being discussed are logical. Redirect students’ behavior as needed. If students continue to exhibit difficulty making correct predictions, ask students, “What made you think that?” or “What word in the title did you use to make your prediction?” Reuse the think-aloud strategy described in Step 7 if needed.

  • Collect and review students’ T-charts. Use the Student RSS Performance Rubric to assess the students’ mastery of the skills.


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