By Rissa Hanneken Updated September 22, 2023
Do you dread teaching students how to cite text evidence when responding to text? It can be challenging – but it doesn’t have to be! If you teach students how to cite text evidence with sentence starters, it will make this difficult skill SO MUCH EASIER.
Grab This FREE Reading Resource!
Beginning in third grade – students learn how to respond to fiction and non-fiction text in writing. Doing this correctly and effectively requires them to learn how to use text evidence to support their responses. They have to learn and do so many things at once – it can be confusing! Reading for comprehension, choosing the correct answer or focus (i.e., main idea, etc.), restating the question, and then citing the text evidence that supports our answer. It’s a lot of moving parts – and each is important for sure. In this post, I will focus on just one of those elements – citing text evidence.
How to Teach Students to Cite Text Evidence
First, I teach my class how to use sentence starters when they cite text evidence.
More specifically, I teach them one sentence starter at the beginning.
For example, I choose one sentence starter and model it every day for one week. During whole group instruction, I will explicitly model answering a text-dependent question using this sentence starter:
According to the text, …………………………
This particular sentence starter is the easiest one to teach first.
Here’s what I do:
Examples of Questions, Answers, Text Evidence Citations
Question: The author uses definitions as context clues to help the reader understand what friction means. What did the author define friction as?
The answer should be: According to the text, “Friction is a force between two surfaces that slows objects down or stops them from moving.”
3 Things My Students Learn About Citing Text Evidence
In this response, my students learn 3 things:
- Text evidence means using the exact words from the text.
- Those words must have quotation marks.
- Using sentence starters makes responses easier
While they are learning, I ask them to highlight the quotation marks and underline the sentence starter. Doing this brings attention to the elements that I want them to remember.
During that week, I ask my students to use that particular sentence starter anytime they are citing text evidence. This permits them to use it over and over, and more importantly – they learn how to focus on all three elements of their response:
- Correctly answering the question
- Using the author’s exact words
- Citing it correctly using quotation marks
Once they can successfully respond to the text with all of these elements using the first sentence starter – I let them loose to pick the ones they like to use!
How to Cite Text Evidence Anchor Chart
I’m a massive fan of anchor charts in the classroom, so I use them extensively for sentence starters – but I also like for my students to have an individual anchor chart that they can pull out whenever they need it. This reference sheet will help them cite text evidence correctly every time they respond to text!
>>> Free Download >>> I want you to have this How to Cite Text Evidence Anchor Chart that has reminders and sentence starter examples for your students! It’s perfect for students reading notebooks and to place in your reading center baskets!
CLICK HERE to download this FREEBIE!
Try it my way if you want to teach students how to cite text evidence with sentence starters but are worried it will be hard! Just start with one. Your students will get it much quicker, and then you can set them free to use whichever sentence starter they like!
Reading resources that will save you time planning reading instruction and help you give students practice citing text evidence:
Theme of a Story
Character’s Point of View
The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.Robert John Meehan
Interested in signing up for my email list?
• Get valuable resources and teaching tips delivered straight to your inbox
• Exclusive deals and discounts only available to email list subscribers
• Be the first to know about new products
• Share your ideas and feedback with me directly, I love hearing from my readers!