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Lesson Plan

Using Tiered Companion Texts to Comprehend Complex Nonfiction Texts

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Using Tiered Companion Texts to Comprehend Complex Nonfiction Texts

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Six 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author
Publisher

International Reading Association

 

Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6

Extensions

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • Read and comprehend informational texts within the appropriate grade level of text complexity

  • Integrate information from several texts on the same topic

  • Identify main ideas within a text

  • Determine the meaning of general academic and topic-specific words or phrases in a text

  • Gather and interpret information from text features within an informational text

 

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Session 1

  1. Explain to students that they are going to read three different short texts on hurricanes throughout the next several days. The texts are at a variety of levels, including one very challenging text.

  2. Open the ReadWriteThink Notetaker using the bookmark you previously made, and explain that students should record notes within the tool for each of the texts. Demonstrate where to type their name and the title of the text. Students may also choose the style of their notes (bullet, Roman numeral, or letter). Note that you may want to use an interactive whiteboard to demonstrate this tool.

  3. Click through the ReadWriteThink Notetaker tutorial with students. Read aloud the information as it is presented through the tutorial.

  4. Have students go to their assigned computers, and pass out the most complex text to students.

  5. Type your name and the title of the text into the ReadWriteThink Notetaker as an example. Have students do the same on their computers.

  6. Label three sections on the ReadWriteThink Notetaker as follows:

    • New information I learned

    • Challenging words I knew

    • Words I did not know

  7. Students should then read the complex text independently and record notes on new information learned, challenging words they knew already, and words they did not know with the ReadWriteThink Notetaker.

  8. After students have finished reading and taking notes, have them print their notes. (To do this, students click “Finish” and then “Print your work.”) Ask students to share the information they recorded in their notes in a group discussion. Collect students’ notes when finished.

  9. Ask several discussion questions about the most complex text, and make note of which questions the class struggled with. Ask questions such as the following:

    • What did you notice about the author’s writing style? How does he/she present the information? Does he/she include any personal opinions?

    • Does the author use any figurative language?

    • What did you notice about the author’s word choice? Does the author include descriptive words or technical terms? Do any particular words appear frequently?

    • How do hurricanes form?

    • What effects do hurricanes have on people and their communities?

    • How do people respond to hurricanes?

    • What advice would you give to someone about staying safe during a hurricane?

  10. As an exit slip, have students record any problems they had while reading the text and the strategies they used to overcome these problems. Students should turn this paper in to you at the end of class.

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Session 2

  1. Use a projector or interactive whiteboard to display the text and the ReadWriteThink Notetaker for students to see. Read aloud the easiest text to model how to read and problem solve. As you read aloud, underline the main ideas within the text, and record this information on the ReadWriteThink Notetaker. Explain to students why these ideas are important to the text. (Such ideas may include how hurricanes form, effects of hurricanes, how to stay safe during a hurricane, and so on.)

  2. Underline key vocabulary words in the text, and add these words and their definitions to the notes with the ReadWriteThink Notetaker. (Some examples of appropriate words are hurricane watch, hurricane warning, eye, flood, and storm surge.) Model how to figure out the meaning of these words using word banks, glossaries, pictures, and other words in the text.

  3. Point out any text features in the text. Interpret the information presented in these text features, and explain why the author would use these features to help make information easier to understand and more visually appealing. Add the information from the text features to the notes on the ReadWriteThink Notetaker.

  4. Ask the same discussion questions you asked for the complex text in Session 1. Make note of any improvement in students’ responses.

    • What did you notice about the author’s writing style? How does he/she present the information? Does he/she include any personal opinions?

    • Does the author use any figurative language?

    • What did you notice about the author’s word choice? Does the author include descriptive words or technical terms? Do any particular words appear frequently?

    • How do hurricanes form?

    • What effects do hurricanes have on people and their communities?

    • How do people respond to hurricanes?

    • What advice would you give to someone about staying safe during a hurricane?

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Session 3

  1. Pass out the medium text to the students. Ask them to go to their computers and open the ReadWriteThink Notetaker.

  2. Ask students to print out their notes from the ReadWriteThink Notetaker when finished. Have students keep their printed notes for the next session.

  3. Have students independently read the medium text and record their notes on the ReadWriteThink Notetaker.

  4. Remind students of the elements included in the previous session’s modeling of note-taking. Compile a list of these elements on the board: main ideas, key vocabulary words, important information presented in text features.

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Session 4

  1. Assign or let students choose a partner to work with. This partner must be reading the same texts as the student.

  2. Students should discuss and revise their notes with their partners. Together they need to decide if there is anything to add to their notes or if they need to remove unimportant information.

  3. Once students have finished revising their notes, bring the class together as a whole for a group discussion. Students should share the information they included in their notes and why they included it. If necessary, discuss any important information that needs to be added to students’ notes or any insignificant information that needs to be removed. Students should not turn these notes in. They may use the notes for reference when working with the complex text.

  4. Ask the same questions from the previous sessions, and continue to take note of improvement in students’ responses.

    • What did you notice about the author’s writing style? How does he/she present the information? Does he/she include any personal opinions?

    • Does the author use any figurative language?

    • What did you notice about the author’s word choice? Does the author include descriptive words or technical terms? Do any particular words appear frequently?

    • How do hurricanes form?

    • What effects do hurricanes have on people and their communities?

    • How do people respond to hurricanes?

    • What advice would you give to someone about staying safe during a hurricane?

  5. As an exit slip, have students record any problems they had while reading the text and the strategies they used to overcome these problems, and then turn this in to you at the end of class.

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Session 5

  1. Remind students of the elements that are included when note-taking: main ideas, key vocabulary, and important information presented in text features.

  2. Pass out the Note-Taking Rubric. Explain to students that they need to independently take notes on the most complex text. Once finished, they should print their notes so they can be evaluated using the Note-Taking Rubric.

  3. Go over the categories on the rubric together, and discuss what a quality finished product looks like.

  4. Ask students to take out the most complex text again, go to their computers, and open the ReadWriteThink Notetaker.

  5. Have students independently reread the most complex text.

  6. Next, have students independently take notes on the complex text using the ReadWriteThink Notetaker. When finished, students need to print the notes and turn them in to you.

  7. Evaluate the notes using the Note-Taking Rubric.

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Session 6

  1. Return students’ graded notes on the complex text with the completed Note-Taking Rubric and comments.

  2. Discuss the most complex text together as a class. Ask students to share the information they recorded in their notes. Talk about whether any important information was missing from these notes or whether insignificant information needs to be removed from them.

  3. For the final time, go over the following discussion questions:

    • What did you notice about the author’s writing style? How does he/she present the information? Does he/she include any personal opinions?

    • Does the author use any figurative language?

    • What did you notice about the author’s word choice? Does the author include descriptive words or technical terms? Do any particular words appear frequently?

    • How do hurricanes form?

    • What effects do hurricanes have on people and their communities?

    • How do people respond to hurricanes?

    • What advice would you give to someone about staying safe during a hurricane?

  4. Together, discuss how students’ understanding of hurricanes has changed as a result of reading these three texts.

  5. Next, have students discuss how they have changed as readers. Ask them to share what strategies they used to figure out difficult words, how they interpreted text features, and how they determined what was important within the text. While they talk, record this information on a chart or the board.

  6. As an exit slip, ask students to record how the reading of the three different texts has improved their understanding of hurricanes. Students should explain how the easier texts helped them comprehend the most complex text. Have students turn in these notes at the end of class.

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EXTENSIONS

Students may use EBSCOhost to find their own articles for the lesson. They can use the database to search by topic and lexile level. They should select three texts with a range of lexiles (easy, medium, complex) appropriate to their reading level.

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

  • Assess students’ notes on the most complex text with the Note-Taking Rubric to determine students’ comprehension of informational texts within the appropriate grade level of text complexity. Review students’ exit slips from Sessions 1 and 4 to determine whether they are using strategies to problem solve during reading.

  • Observe students’ responses to discussion questions to assess their ability to integrate information from several texts on the same topic. Review students’ exit slips from Session 6 to determine whether students were able to use information from easier texts to comprehend the most complex text.

  • Evaluate students’ final independent notes on the most complex text with the Note-Taking Rubric to analyze whether they’ve identified the main ideas from the text in their notes.

  • Evaluate students’ final independent notes on the most complex text with the Note-Taking Rubric to analyze whether they’ve identified key vocabulary words from the text and their meanings in their notes.

  • Evaluate students’ final independent notes on the most complex text with the Note-Taking Rubric to analyze whether they’ve included the most important information from text features in their notes.

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