One of the keys to teaching reading comprehension is showing kids how proficient readers think about text. Teachers have to find a way to make their thinking visible. One way is with graphic organizers. Here is a free set:
The first one is filled in with the steps for growing seeds. This one gives kids a familiar example of sequence. It also shows common signal words that they might find in text to indicate that a sequence is happening. I like to keep this one in a plastic sleeve in my reading group binder so we can refer back to it when we’re talking about text structure or if we have a text that features a sequence.
The second graphic organizer has the same format but it’s blank. You can fill this in while you think aloud to demonstrate how proficient readers take note of sequence. You can also have kids fill the boxes in about books that they read. I use it both as a guided whole group activity and then in reading centers as kids grasp the concept.
Grab your set for FREE here:
Strategies to Cover
So Many Strategies!
The next block up (the purple one) represents summarizing. It’s a little bit less information than the whole text.
The red block is for story elements (fiction) and text features (nonfiction). Noticing these things helps lead you to finding the main idea.
The orange block is for main idea, once again, a little bit different process depending on if you are reading fiction or nonfiction. It’s helpful for students to see that the main idea block is smaller than the summary block. Soooo, stating the main idea should be fairly short and sweet while giving a summary is a little longer.
At the top of the pyramid is the topic which should only be one or two words. Here’s what usually happens when I ask kids to tell me the topic of a text:
“Well, it’s about birds and the different places they live and the things they like to eat….”
And this is when it’s helpful to have this anchor chart around so I can point to the teeny tiny top of the pyramid as a reminder that it should only be 1 or 2 words.
“Oh yeah, the topic is birds.”
Peek at a Week
Now all the responsibility is turned over to the students. They may read and complete a graphic organizer with a partner or on their own.
A Resource to Get You Going
Best of luck as you make your thinking visible to your students and help them get the most out of their reading!
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