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Comprehension Minilesson

By Natalie Scholberg
Title of Lesson: Madam President Comprehension Minilesson
Date of lesson: November 13th, 2013
Number of Students:
For this activity I will have five students at a time (we will rotate reading groups
three times so in all I will have fifteen students completing this minilesson).
Materials:
Madam President by Lane Smith
Story Words worksheet (15 copies)
Pencils
Procedure of Comprehension Minilesson
Students will first be given the Story Words worksheet (each student will have
their own).
The students will be given the directions to first read over the words by
themselves and then after 1 minute, I will go over the words on the
worksheet with the students.
After reading all of the words on the paper, students will be asked to come up
with a possible story title from the list of words that we read together. The list
of words will be on their worksheet so they can refer back to it.
After creating a possible story title based on the word list, they will then write
2 sentences on what the story will be about.
Then I will show them the book including the title of the book to see if
students guessed close to their possible story title.
I will read Madam President to students.
When I finish reading the story to students I will ask them to flip their papers
over and write 3 sentences about what the book was actually about.
If we have time, the students will share what they wrote.
I will repeat this minilesson three times.
In order to teach my comprehension minilesson, I first had to plan what my
lesson was going to be about and collect the materials for the lesson. The first
thing I had to do for my lesson was decide which pre-reading, during, and postreading activity I was going to have the students complete. I first wanted
students to do story words, KWL, and a 3-2-1 strategy for the minilesson but
then I realized that was way too many things for students to do. My pre-reading
activity ended up being story words! When the example of story words was

shown in class, I was so interested and wanted to do it in my own classroom


which is the reason why I chose it. My pre-reading activity set a purpose for
reading and activated prior knowledge! Students were asked to use their prior
knowledge to come up with a possible title of the book and a possible story after
reading the list of words that were found in the book. In order to complete this
part of the story words activity, students had to remember what a title was and
how to write a title with the given words in the book. While reading the book to
my small group of students, students were taking notes. Note taking was my
during reading activity for my minilesson. Students were writing notes down
about what the pictures were illustrating and also writing any information that
sounded interesting to students. My during reading activity kept my second
grade students engaged in the text because they were thinking about the
content of the book as they were writing notes. In addition to writing notes,
students were also being asked questions. I was asking questions about the book
while I was reading. For example, one question that I asked to students was
what do you think will happen next? In order for students to answer this
question, they must have been thinking about the book while I was reading.
Lastly, my post-reading activity, which was a three sentence summary, helped
students summarize what they just read. My post-reading activity integrated
new information with what the students already knew by allowing them to
practice how to summarize a text in three sentences. Students also learned new
information about a presidents duties so they combined new knowledge with old
knowledge. The students summary of the story helped me assess whether they
understood the information that was read and what I asked them to do. Besides
planning the pre-reading, during, and post-reading activities for the minilesson, I

also had to find a book to read to my second grade students and make the story
words worksheet based on the book I had to pick out. Choosing a book to read
aloud was harder than I thought! I was very picky when choosing books and I
only wanted a great book to read to students. After searching through the ETMC
and the reading center, I finally came across a book that was called Madam
President. I chose this book because it had a great story line to it that could
relate to children, great illustrations, and had a good sense of humor that I
thought my students would enjoy! After finding the book for my comprehension
lesson, I made the story words worksheet by finding the most interesting words
in the book! Once I had all the materials I needed for my comprehension lesson
which was the book and my story words worksheet I was ready to teach my
comprehension minilesson!
Reflecting back on my comprehension lesson, I noticed that this lesson was
slightly more difficult for students than the word study minilesson and the fluency
minilesson. My pre-reading activity, story words, was the activity that some
students struggled with. The main reason why I thought students had a harder time
with the story words is because it was the very first time students were exposed to
this specific type of comprehension strategy. I explained to students that the list of
words were found in the book and the list showed clues about what the book was
about, but still students had a hard time coming up with a possible story title and a
possible story. I know that students did not have to get the title right or the story
line right during the pre-reading activity but I had a feeling that students were not
wrapping their minds about all of the words in the list as a whole. Instead, I think
students were picking out single words and coming up with a story, rather than
looking at all of the words to come up with a title and story. Since my

comprehension lesson was the first time students had ever done this
comprehension strategy, I think students would become better at it with more
exposure and practice. The pre-reading activity was the only part of the minilesson
that students had confusion. Other than the pre-reading activity, students
responded very well to my during and post-reading sections of the lesson. I was
hoping for students to be engaged in my read aloud for Madam President and they
were (more than I thought)! Every student paid attention and giggled at the humor
in the book. While I was reading, students jotted down notes about the story to
remember what happened throughout the book. When I was finished reading the
story, students were asked to write a three sentence summary of the book.
Students summarized the story very well and even shared their summaries if we
had time to do so! In all, the lesson went well! Students at first had trouble with the
story words but then breezed smoothly across the during and post-reading activities
of the comprehension minilesson.
If I were to ever teach my comprehension minilesson again, I would definitely
make some changes. One thing I would do differently is say the directions more
clearly to students about the story words strategy and also write out my
directions. When I was teaching my minilesson, I thought that I was saying the
directions clearly but the directions could have made sense to me, and not my
students. In order to avoid this, next time I would write out my directions and make
sure that they were clear, direct, and simple. Another way for students to
understand directions is for the teacher to not only say the directions for an
assignment or activity out loud but have the directions visually written out. I would
write the directions out next time if I could re-do my minilesson! Another thing I
would do differently to accommodate my students is to pick a different book on the

students readiness level, so students could know all of the words rather than just
some of the words on the page. I taught my lesson with the lowest readiness
reading group which is another factor that needs to be a part of my decision making
when picking out books for comprehension. Students not knowing the words (even
though they were read aloud several times) could explain why students had a hard
time coming up with a possible story title and a possible story. I believe that my
students understood my comprehension minilesson but there is always room for
improvement!
To incorporate comprehension and writing instruction into my classroom I
plan to first, make the very most of classroom read-alouds to promote
comprehension and vocabulary. Read-aloud time is an ideal opportunity to build
comprehension through the use of oral language activities, listening
comprehension, and text-based discussion. Incorporating comprehension instruction
and read-alouds could be a promising way to boost student comprehension in my
classroom. However, read-alouds must be carefully planned if they are to affect
students comprehension. Making the very most of read-aloud time requires
teaching students to recognize the differences between narrative and information
text structure, to know the meanings of target vocabulary, and to become active
participants in purposeful discussions about texts. To integrate reading and writing
in my classroom, I would also set aside time to familiarize students with the task
they are about to undertake. I would provide background information that links the
students prior experiences to the material they are about to read or write. Also,
encouraging students to consider what they already know about the new topic
before they begin reading or writing prepares them to encounter the materials. In
my classroom, I would also require journals wherein students record their reactions

and questions while they read aloud to engage with the material. Further, as a
teacher, I would encourage students not only to comprehend the facts of the
reading materials, but also to explore that materials greater significance via written
responses and reports. I have learned that instruction in comprehension strategies
that students can use as they read can improve their reading comprehension
abilities. Therefore, in my own classroom I plan to teach several strategies that are
effective to my students. Some of these comprehension strategies include
comprehension monitoring, use of graphic and semantic organizers, use of story
structure, question answering, and question generation. For teaching
comprehension and writing, I will use a variety of materials. I think that a writing
center in my classroom would include comprehension and writing. This center would
have several different types of comprehension activities as well as strategies for
students to learn reading comprehension. The writing center would also be a place
for students to practice and incorporate writing into comprehension. Students will
have a wide range of books to choose and read from. The books in my classroom
will cover all of my students reading levels. In my own classroom, I plan to have
different stations when teaching students about comprehension and reading. One
station could focus on word study, one on fluency, and the other on comprehension
and writing! That is only one example of how I would teach comprehension in my
classroom. Students will probably be divided by their reading readiness (which is
how it is done in almost every classroom in my practicum school) which is how
grouping arrangements would occur. Relating to assessment, I think that
assessments for comprehension could be through student work, classroom
discussions, observations, interviews, checklists, and so much more! Depending on
what grade I am teaching, I would like to have and teach reading every day. I would

teach comprehension and writing in the reading block for about an hour everyday if
I could! My goal in incorporating comprehension and writing in my classroom is to
use explicit instruction to teach students strategies that they ultimately could use
unprompted when reading independently and enhance students reading abilities.