If you want to grow successful readers in the middle grades, here are 3 essential elements you need when teaching your students how to respond to text-dependent questions. That’s sort of a rhetorical question – of course, you want to grow successful readers! But sometimes it’s easier said than done – right?
Close reading strategies that involve responding to text can be really hard for young students. It’s a big learning curve for them. For teachers, it’s figuring out the best strategies to get this across to our students.
These 3 essential elements need to be present in order for our students to learn this important skill in reading.
1. Teachers have to ask text-dependent questions that matter.
The old practice of throwing out the who, what, when, where, and how questions doesn’t really work. Questions that help students dig into text need to be planned for. In fact, this is the most important aspect of your planning. If you are not asking really good questions, the lesson is not going to move your students forward.
Even though this can be hard – it doesn’t have to be.
A great place to start is with question stems based on your ELA standards: Elementary LAFS Question Task Cards Grade 3. (The Florida LAFS standards are very similar to Common Core, so these will work for you if you use Common Core)
Here are examples of a few text-dependent question stems that are listed:
As you can see from these examples, students must go to the text to answer the questions. These example questions can be used in any text and the questions matter to the student’s comprehension of the text.
The link is listed at the bottom of this post!
2. Students need to learn how to answer questions in complete sentences.
This one can be tough. Why? Because you have to model, model, model, then model some more.
Teaching students how to re-state the question in their response will take time, but it will be worth it!
You will see your students GROW as readers and writers and it will make your teacher heart sing!
Here are a few examples of how to re-state a question in the response:
3. Students need to learn how to cite evidence.
I post them up on the board or on an anchor chart, so that my students can see them easily.
The key here is to ask them to use only these at first. Keep it simple as they learn how to find the evidence they want to use.
After they start to “get it”, I like to add more options for them so that they can choose how they want to cite the evidence. This creates ownership of the skill and they will enjoy choosing the one they like the most.
That’s it really.
If you follow these 3 essential elements for teaching your students how to respond to text-dependent questions, you will see them learn and improve as readers!
I have learned to be consistent in my planning and implementation. Slow and steady – model, model, model.
What strategies have you found to be successful? Please share!
If your district uses Reading Wonders as a source for reading lessons, these text-dependent reading response worksheets will save you SO MUCH TIME when planning your reading questions.
They are organized by units and available by unit or for the entire school year!
If you would like to start the school year with 6 weeks of text-dependent questions for reading comprehension and vocabulary as well as graphic organizers in both printable and digital formats – check out the preview for a closer look!
Pin this for later, so you can always come back for more information!
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