Minilesson

Overview

The teacher chooses a text or parts of a text to demonstrate and/or have students practice a specific reading strategy that will support students going forward in reading informational texts with fluency and comprehension. Depending on the structure of the lesson, the teacher might demonstrate on one section of a text as part of the instruction, then ask students to practice the same strategy on another selected excerpt from the same text.

The teacher carefully selects excerpts from a text to project on a screen or to give out to all students that help to demonstrate the strategy that will be taught in the lesson. For example, if the lesson teaches fourth-grade students that it’s important to read across a number of small details, then pause to ask: “What is the main idea so far?” the teacher will choose selections from the text that present several details that point to a bigger idea, and demonstrate the strategy for the students.

Students get an opportunity to practice the same strategy the teacher has demonstrated in another selected part of the text.

During independent work time or during homework reading, students will apply that lesson and other prior lessons as they move to read additional articles that they choose, at their appropriate reading levels.

6th Grade Minilesson Using “Arizona Immigration Posse Now on School Patrol”

NOTE: Students will need access to individual copies of the article, either printouts or computer access. See rationale for text complexity above for Lexile selection (this is also a whole-class instructional method.)

Teaching Point (a transferable reading strategy that students can use to apply to future reading):
Readers of informational text notice when two sides of an issue are presented. Clues like “Other people say…” or “Critics say…” help readers to be alert to another point of view. To clarify reasons or evidence on both sides of an issue, readers can set up a note-taking chart to collect support for each side.

[To teach this lesson, refer to “Who Called the Posse?” and “Critics Question the Plan” as demonstration texts. Model thinking through the pros and cons of the school protection posse by setting up a note-taking chart: “The posse is a good idea/The posse is a bad idea” and collecting evidence from the passage that supports each side.

Then give students an opportunity to practice this same strategy on the last section of the article: “Armed Guards for Every School.” Set up the chart and have students re-read for the evidence to support both sides: “Obama’s gun control plan will be effective for protecting school children/The NRA’s plan to arm guards in school will be effective for protecting school children.”

Finally, link this to independent practice. Students will use this strategy, plus the strategy that was demonstrated in the read aloud for coming up with central idea by thinking through details, as they move to read their own independent Newsela stories that they choose, at their instructional levels, as approximated by themselves and the software.

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