Use details to ask and answer questions about a text; Demonstrate understanding of a text (Inclusive Big Idea #1)

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What are students learning?

Reading Literature

Grade 2: English Language Arts

Inclusive Big Idea #1: Use details to ask and answer questions about a text; Demonstrate understanding of a text

Standard: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text. RL.2.1

How could I teach this?

Think about how instructional strategies and activities can give students multiple ways to engage with learning. One way won’t work for all, so how can you remove and reduce barriers for all students?

  • Story Elements Chart: During and after reading or listening to a text, create a story elements chart with the class to answer questions about and make relationships between key details in the text, including the who, what, where, why, and how. The chart can be completed with words, phrases, symbols, photos, objects, or student drawings. Preview the type of information to look for prior to reading a story or watching a movie or play. Practice with a set of short paragraphs or very short stories. The charts can be made using paper and tactile objects, or by using digital technologies.
  • Sequencing: Use an event sequencing graphic organizer to match or sequence pictures and/or sentences representing the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a story. Then, have students answer questions about the story (e.g., What happened first? What happened last?), either verbally or by pointing to the correct picture in the graphic organizer.
  • Problem/Solution: Use a problem and solution map to match or sequence pictures and/or sentences representing the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a story. Then, students answer questions about the story either verbally or by pointing to the correct picture in the graphic organizer or digital media. Learn more about graphic organizers in this TIP Sheet.
  • 5W Questions: Before, during, and after reading or listening to the text, ask students 5W Questions. Make these available in multiple representations for students, such as on display, on handouts, or as sentence starters in discussions:
    • Who are the characters in the story?
    • Where does the story take place?
    • When does this story take place?
    • What happened in the story?
    • Why do you think this happened?
  • Think, Pair, Share: Ask students to think individually about a question then meet with a peer to discuss their answers. Then, after they have had time to discuss with a peer they can share their thoughts with the rest of the class. Use sentence starters to help guide the discussion. Learn more about Think, Pair, Share in this TIP Sheet.
  • Discussion Webs: Write a question about the story in the middle of a web. Draw lines extending from the web and ask students to provide responses for the question. For example, you may write “Who are the characters?” in the middle of the web. Then, on extended lines students can offer responses to the question. This can be done as a whole group, small group, in pairs, or individually. Learn more about graphic organizers in this TIP Sheet.
  • Concept Sort: Have students sort key details associated with various stories. Choose two or more familiar stories as the categories and have the students sort/match word cards, picture cards, or objects according to story, placing the words/pictures/objects on or near the cover of the corresponding book. Then, students answer who, what, when, where, why, how questions about each story verbally or by pointing to the picture or object.
  • Think Aloud: The purpose for asking students questions about texts is to get them into the habit of self-questioning as they read by themselves. To model this, read aloud a book in front of the class. Then, periodically, stop and ask questions out loud. Then, as you continue to read, begin answering the questions yourself. Have a way for students to record their thoughts as they go, such as on sticky notes or a digital tool.

Don’t stop here! Remember to reduce barriers for all students.

Make reducing barriers a process - take a few minutes to think about your process! Is there a barrier related to:

  • interest or engagement? Think about how to incorporate student’s lived experiences, culture, and interests… 
  • background knowledge? Think about how to highlight key ideas and define key vocabulary… 
  • showing what they know? Think about having options for how they use learning tools and technology to communicate…

For example, one possible barrier is if the lesson is not interesting or relevant to the student.

Ideas to reduce this barrier could include:

  • allow students to choose stories from their own favorites or from a set of approved options
  • demonstrate how the content connects to something related to the school or the local community
  • ask students how the topic relates to them
  • offer options for collaboration

Use these Inclusive Strategies to help reduce barriers.

Tell me more about this Inclusive Big Idea (I need a refresher)

Brush up on the content of this Inclusive Big Idea. It will help you and your colleagues to understand and teach this content better.

  • What are Question-Answer Relationships?
    • In order to answer a question correctly, students have to know where they can find the key details necessary to learn the answers.
      • Right There questions: Answers to this type of question are explicitly mentioned in the text.
      • Think and Search questions: Answers to these questions require students to pull key details from multiple parts of a text to draw a conclusion.
      • Author and Me questions: Answers to these questions require students to make connections between key details from the story and their own experiences.
      • On my Own questions: While prompts such as these are aligned with the text, answers to this type of question require the students to pull key details exclusively from their own experiences and thoughts.
  • What Vocabulary Should I Teach and Know?
    • summary- containing the key points or big idea
    • main idea- the most important idea in the text
    • details- specific smaller elements that are part of a larger work
    • key word- essential or significant words related to the text
    • relevant- has significant importance
    • irrelevant- not important or related
    • characters- person/persons in a story
    • setting- place where the story happens
    • plot- sequence of events involving characters in conflict situations
    • point of view- perspective from which the story is told
    • theme- moral or big idea of the story
    • inference- a conclusion or opinion that is formed based on facts or evidence
    • context clues- words and sentences within a text that provides additional information
  • What is Summarizing?
    • When summarizing, readers reduce larger selections of text to their bare essentials: the gist, the key ideas, the main points that are worth noting and remembering.
  • Why Summarize?
    • Important skill for readers of all levels and abilities
    • Goes beyond retelling to demonstrate strong understanding of the text
    • Requires readers to comprehend, analyze, and synthesize ideas
    • Requires a higher level of thinking
    • Whether reading a story, a content area textbook, a comic, or poem, the ability to summarize a text and infer to read between the lines is a lifelong skill readers use to foster higher level thinking and deeper comprehension.
  • How Do Readers Summarize Key Ideas?
    • Good readers…
      • reduce the extraneous verbiage and examples
      • focus on the most relevant facts
      • find key words/phrases that capture the main idea of what was read
      • find the main ideas and the essential details that support the main idea

    Pro-Tips 

    Looking for more suggestions?  Target student common misconceptions, build on interdisciplinary links, and implement strategies and supports across multiple lessons or units.

    Go beyond the specific standard! These examples can spark ideas to generalize related skills from the content to real-world experiences for all students.

    Common Student Misconceptions

    • Not all answers can be found in the text; some answers rely on the reader to incorporate personal experience and perspective. There can be more than one acceptable answer.

    Everyday Connections

    • In the Kitchen: Read directions to determine the important details for how to complete an assignment or to follow a recipe.
    • After School: Gather information to figure out the key details for how to play a game or to join a club or team at school or in the community.
    • Let’s Play: Read how-to guides to determine the key details for how to create something of interest to them, such as building a Lego kit.

    Explore other Inclusive Big Ideas to think about the content you are teaching. How can you connect what you are teaching now to what has been taught before or what will be taught in the future?

    First Grade: Use details to ask and answer questions about a text (RL 1)

    Second Grade: Use details to ask and answer questions about a text; Demonstrate understanding of a text (RI 1)

    Third Grade: Use details to ask and answer questions about a text; Demonstrate literal and inferential understanding of a text (RL 1)

    Other TIES resources:

    Inclusive Big Ideas: Standards-based resources for inclusive classrooms | TIES Center

    The Inclusive Big Ideas were adapted from resources created by the NCSC Project , a federal grant from the US Department of Education (PR/Award #: H373X100002), However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education and no assumption of endorsement by the Federal government should be made.

    Find another Inclusive Big Idea

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