Main Idea in Informational Text Grade Three

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1 Ohio Standards Connection Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text Benchmark C Identify the central ideas and supporting details of informational text. Indicator 3 Identify and list the important central ideas and supporting details of informational text. Research Benchmark B Select and summarize important information and sort key findings into categories about a topic. Indicators: 4. Identify important information found in the sources and summarize important findings. 5. Sort relevant information into categories about the topic. Lesson Summary: Students identify main idea and details of informational text and record each on table diagram. Students write a summary paragraph of their findings. Estimated Duration: 90 minutes Commentary: Recognizing and writing a main idea with supporting details is a critical literacy skill. This lesson effectively uses the methods necessary for maximum student learning. A teacher who field-tested the lesson stated, the lesson went very well. I especially liked the table diagram for the main idea and supporting details. I could see a light come on in my students eyes as we discussed it. I also liked the lesson because it incorporated nonfiction. We need a lot of practice in third grade with nonfiction reading and understanding. This lesson showed my students how easy it was to use their OWN WORDS to write a paragraph instead of copying word for word from the book. A second teacher commented that the lesson definitely addresses the standard. I especially like the pre and post assessment tools. Pre-Assessment: Distribute Pre-Assessment, Attachment A, to each student. Display and read aloud a paragraph from an informational text. Instruct students to use Pre-Assessment sheet during and after reading to list main idea and details. Observe student work. Use Pre and Post Assessment Guide, Attachment B, to record accuracy of student answers. Scoring Guidelines: Check column if students were able to identify main idea and supporting details. Make anecdotal notes for conferencing with individual students. Post-Assessment: Collect table diagram with main idea and details listed. 1

2 Scoring Guidelines: Use Pre and Post Assessment Guide, Attachment B, to determine student s ability to identify main idea and details. Instructional Procedures: Part One 1. Introduce nonfiction or informational text to students. 2. Show front cover of a new text to students and ask for predictions. 3. Ask students to identify text as fiction or nonfiction and state how they know. 4. Scan text, pointing out features such as table of contents, chapter headings, and index. 5. Model how to select one chapter to read aloud using table of contents. Instructional Tips: Pre-select chapter. Make sure paragraph selected for read-aloud has clear main idea and details. Use thinkaloud to model the process. Use think aloud throughout presentation of read-aloud text. 6. Read chapter aloud. 7. Review definitions of main idea (central thought or chief topic) and supporting details. 8. Reread pre-selected paragraph for clear idea and details found in previously read chapter. 9. Instruct students to show you thumbs-up sign when they hear the main idea and five fingers each time they hear a detail. 10. Monitor student responses. 11. Discuss main idea and details found in paragraph. 12. Read a second paragraph from chapter. 13. Display table diagram using chart or overhead projection device. 14. Explain that main idea is the top of the table and the details are its legs, which support it. 15. Model how to identify main idea and details and record them on table diagram. 16. Emphasize importance of students using their own words rather than copying from text. 17. Give students familiar informational text and copies of Table Diagram, Attachment C. 18. Instruct students to use table of contents to select one chapter to read. 19. After reading chapter, instruct students to identify and record main idea and supporting details on table diagram. Instructional Tip: Give students pre-selected paragraphs or short non-fiction articles from children s news magazines. 20. Monitor student work and help students select a good paragraph if necessary. 21. Make sure students do not copy sentences directly from text. Day Two: 22. Display model of table diagram and review components. 23. Explain that top of table (main idea) could be topic or main idea sentence in paragraph while the table legs (supporting details) are the details in paragraph. 2

3 24. Model writing paragraph using information gathered on table diagram. 25. Use transition phrases from the diagram to complete sentences in paragraph as needed. 26. Model adding concluding sentence to paragraph. 27. Instruct students to use table diagrams to write a paragraph with a topic sentence, details and concluding sentence. Differentiated Instructional Support: Instruction is differentiated according to learner needs, to help all learners either meet the intent of the specified indicator(s) or, if the indicator is already met, to advance beyond the specified indicator(s). Differentiate nonfiction reading material as needed. Students showing evidence of not meeting the standard after lesson may work in small groups or individually with teacher for remediation or reteaching. Students experiencing difficulty transferring the table diagram information to paragraph form may require individual or small group remediation. Extensions: Students meet in small groups to share information on table diagrams. Continue or extend activity with read-alouds and chart-sized table diagrams. Use table diagrams as research for informational reports. Invite students to interview each other about what they learned. Home Connections: Students identify main idea and details of literary text read at home. Students identify main idea of informational television programs. Interdisciplinary Connections: Choose literature that focuses lessons on other content areas. Materials and Resources: For the teacher: chart paper or projection device, markers or chalk, large visual aid of table diagram, lesson attachments, read aloud for Pre-Assessment, read aloud for body of lesson, student texts for body of lesson For the student: pencil, attachments Vocabulary: main idea supporting detail Technology Connections: Students create their table diagram using word-processing or drawing software. Students read short stories electronically. 3

4 Research Connections: Atwell, Nancie. In the Middle: Writing, Reading and Learning with Adolescents. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers, Mini-lessons are 15- to 30-minute direct-instruction lessons designed to help students learn literacy skills and become more strategic readers and writers. In these lessons, students and the teacher are focused on a single goal; students are aware of why it is important to learn the skill or strategy through modeling, explanation and practice. Then independent application takes place using authentic literacy materials. Many researchers recommend using a whole-part-whole organization for teacher skills and strategies. Students read and respond to a text that is the whole; then teachers focus on a skill or strategy and teach a mini-lesson using examples from the text whenever possible this is the part. Finally, students return to the text or another text to apply what they have learned by doing more reading or writing or doing a project this is the whole again. The skills approach to reading is described as part to whole, and the holistic approach is described as whole to part. This approach considers both. Instead of isolated drill and practice activities that are often meaningless to students, this approach encourages teachers to clearly connect what students are learning in mini-lessons to authentic literacy activities. Barrantine, S. J. Engaging with Reading through Interactive Read-Alouds. The Reading Teacher, , A read-aloud session is a method framework often used by teachers to develop independent readers. It involves: 1. Choosing a book with both your students and yourself in mind 2. Practice reading of the book 3. Creating a comfortable atmosphere for reading aloud 4. Reading the selection with feeling and expression 5. Discuss the meanings of unfamiliar words. 6. Support children s responses to what has been read Cawletti, Gordon. Handbook of Research on Improving Student Achievement. Arlington, VA: Educational Research Service, LANGUAGE ARTS (Squire 1995) Incorporate extensive reading of varied kinds of material. Foster interactive learning. Extend students background knowledge. Utilizing meaning-making skills and strategies such as summarizing, questioning and interpreting. Organize instruction into broad, thematically based clusters of work. Teach critical reading/writing skills. Emphasize discussion and analysis. Stress the composing process. Provide balanced attention to different forms of reading, writing and speaking. 4

5 Provide early intervention. Expose students to varied kinds of literature. Provide assessment that reflects the content and process of instruction Marzano, Robert J., Jane E. Pollock and Debra Pickering. Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement, Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Nonlinguistic representations or imagery helps students think about and recall knowledge. This includes the following: Creating graphic representations (organizers) Making physical models Generating mental pictures Drawing pictures and pictographs Engaging in kinesthetic activity Pressley, Michael. Reading Instruction that Works: The Case for Balanced Reading. New York: Guilford Press, Cognitive strategies like thinking aloud, constructing images, summarizing, predicting, activating prior knowledge, questioning, clarifying and analyzing text structure can promote reading instruction beginning in grade 2 and continuing into high school. These are comprehension strategies used by excellent readers. General Tip: Select reading material appropriate to each student s developmental level with clearly organized paragraphs. Attachments: Attachment A, Pre-Assessment Attachment B, Pre and Post Assessment Guide Attachment C, Table Diagram 5

6 Attachment A Pre-Assessment Name Date Directions: Fill in each line as while listening to the selection. Main Idea: Supporting Details:

7 Attachment B Pre and Post Assessment Guide Student Name Main Idea The central thought or chief topic Supporting Details Anecdotal Notes Student correctly identifies concept in text Student partially or incorrectly identifies concept in text (1) Number indicating amount of supporting details listed. Attachment C 7

8 Table Diagram Main Idea in Informational Text Grade Three Main Idea Details Transition Words 8

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