Reading Informational Texts Using the 3-2-1 Strategy
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Being able to read informational texts effectively is a fundamental quality of successful readers. In this lesson, students in grades K-2 learn to use the 3-2-1 strategy, which involves writing about three things they discovered, two things they found interesting, and one question they still have. After teacher modeling, students read a magazine article independently and use the 3-2-1 strategy to comprehend what they read. This strategy can be adapted and used with older students as well.
From Theory to Practice
Good readers use effective strategies when reading to help them comprehend text. The 3-2-1 strategy requires students to summarize key ideas from the text and encourages them to think independently. First, students write about three things they discovered. Next, they write about two things they found interesting. Last, they write one question they still have. This strategy can be used while reading a variety of texts to actively and meaningfully engage students with the text.
Evidence exists that supports the need for primary teachers to use informational texts in their classrooms. Teaching students effective strategies to use while reading informational texts can greatly assist students in comprehending what they read.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
|1.||Gather a supply of children's magazines or articles. Articles may be selected from print magazines or online resources.
|2.||Browse the Online Informational Texts and select one article to use during Session 1. In this example, we are using the article "Polar Bears" from the National Geographic Kids: Creature Feature; however, any informational article can be selected. Make a copy of the article for each student.
|3.||Bookmark the interactive 3-2-1 Strategy Chart on the computers that students will be using. Students can complete this form online. Note that if multiple students are using the same computer, the chart will need to be cleared before the next student begins, even if it has been closed. To do so, simply press the "Clear Chart" button at the top. If computers are not available, print blank copies of the chart to distribute to students during Session 2.
Students will demonstrate comprehension of an informational article read from a magazine using the 3-2-1 strategy.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
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.
- 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.
Student Assessment / Reflections
Comprehension of the informational text read may be assessed through the students’ 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.