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Ashley Barker


Teaching Reading: Mini Lesson Format (Calkins, 2001)

Targeted Literacy Strategy or Skill: Questioning
Grade level: 6
Objective: The student will be able to share their questions about their own reading.
Common Core State Standard/ PASS Standard:
RL.6.3 Describe how a particular storys or dramas plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the
characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.
RL.6.3 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and
connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
RL.6.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in
the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Prior knowledge: (What students already know)
Students know how to read long texts.

Observations/Rationale: (Before Lesson) What did you notice in your students work that let you
know this lesson was necessary? (This will be an approximation this semester.)
Ive noticed that sometimes students read without thinking about and questioning what they are reading.
This lack of questioning weakens their comprehension of the text.

Materials Needed
Lesson from Strategies That Work by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis, pp. 110-111.
Mentor Text: Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling
Copies of text excerpt from Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
Sticky notes and writing utensils
Student Groups (whole/small group/partners): Whole group instruction, individual practice, and group
Mini Lesson Format:
Connect (AKA~ Anticipatory Set, Engagement/Pre-reading): Weve been noticing places in
books that make us think, Huh? I didnt get that. Good readers have questions when they think
about what they are reading. Today Im going to show you how questions can also make us think
deeper about our reading. I want to share with you one of my favorite books, Harry Potter and the
Sorcerers Stone. I love this entire series despite my many questions and frequent confusion about
it. In the first book especially, I have many questions about the new wizarding world that Harry
discovers and enters.

Teach (Model/Explain): The first time I read this book, I wondered, who is Harry Potter? And

what is the Sorcerers Stone? Im going to write these questions down on sticky notes and code
them with a question mark. Now we will read from the first chapter of the book, before the main
character, Harry, has even entered the story. (I read aloud the excerpt, stopping as a go to write
down/code questions that I have as I read.) Wait, Im very confused about this paragraph about
McGonagall. Im going to code a sticky note with huh? to note that meaning broke down for me.
This signals me to reread or read a few sentences ahead to try to make sense of the text before
going on. (I reread, show my new understanding, and continue reading on.) My first question,
asking who is Harry Potter, was just answered by Professor McGonagall and Dumbledores
conversation. Harry is the boy who Voldemort tried to kill, but who still survived. Since my
question was answered, Im going to write that answer on the sticky note where I wrote that
question, recode the sticky note with an A, and move it to where my question was answered. But
now I have a new question: who is Voldemort? (I continue reading and coding questions to the
end of the excerpt.) Now I understand that Harry Potter is a young boy whose parents were killed
by Voldemort, and somehow he survived even though Voldemort tried to kill him as well. I also
know that Dumbledore can turn out lights with a special gadget and that Professor McGonagall
can turn into a cat. I will have to continue reading to learn the answers to my many other

Active Engagement (AKA~ Check for Understanding: students try it out, teacher observes):
Now its your turn to practice coding and sharing your own questions. Here is another excerpt
from the fourth chapter of this novel. I want you to write down your questions on sticky notes as
you read, coding them with a question mark. Also remember to move your sticky notes if or when
you find the answers to your questions, writing down the answers and recoding your sticky notes
with an A. (Allow time for students to read.) Whats going on in this text? What are some
questions you marked while reading? How did asking and answering that question help you
understand the text? Why is it important to ask and mark our questions and answers while we
read? (Class discussion after each question.)

Link (AKA~ Closing the Lesson [with accountability for the skill/process]): Now that youve
seen me ask questions while I read and have practiced it yourself, I challenge you to keep coding
your questions and answers when you read for the rest of this week. Remember that good readers
ask questions about what they are reading. We must learn to love our questions because they help
us to better understand what we read.