Lesson: Reading Comprehension Booklets

Author: Marc Sheehan

Source of Idea: Judy Hassen, Federal Way School District TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment)

Subjects: Reading, Writing

Instructional Level: Grades 1-6

Skills: Reading Comprehension, Story/Passage Element Identification and Explanation, Word/ Sentence Writing

Time: 25-35 minutes (may vary depending on grade level and type of reading selection)

Materials: Sheets of unlined paper (standard size), pencils, pens, crayons, markers, scissors (for flip booklets)

Objectives: The students will demonstrate understanding of a reading selection by identifying major characters, the setting of the passage, the problem of the selection and how the problem was solved. Depending on the assignment and type of text, students could also demonstrate comprehension by identifying the plot, details, events, climax, and resolution found in a reading selection.

Introduction: Making comprehension booklets can be a way for students to demonstrate understanding and knowledge about a reading selection. The booklets can be used for pieces of fiction or non-fiction and also can be used in a variety of classrooms, from first grade to sixth grade. I have successfully used these booklets in a special education resource room classroom with students at different age and ability levels in the past. I suggest using the booklets after reading the selection at least twice.

Procedure: Depending on the amount of time you wish to devote to the lesson, the booklets can be made prior to the beginning of the lesson or by the students when the activity begins (they will need to be shown how to fold the paper if you choose to have them create the booklets themselves). I suggest having a finished example to show to the students in either case. There are a couple of options with regards to the appearance of the book. The first option, the flip book, requires the sheet of paper to be folded once lengthwise (the "hot dog" method of folding). After the paper is folded, one half of the sheet is cut into four sections. The smaller cut sections allow the students' writing to be covered up. The section option makes the sheet of paper into a true booklet. The paper is folded into quarters (lengthwise and widthwise). This creates a cover, two inside pages, and four sections inside when the paper is unfolded.
No matter which option you choose, each separate section will have a number of spaces for students to write about and possibly illustrate for each story/passage element you require. The elements you can have the students work on include: the setting of the story, the main characters, the problem of the story, and how the problem was solved. Other elements you can work on include: the main idea or moral of the passage, supporting details, major events, the introduction of the passage, and the plot of the story. Students may also illustrate those elements if applicable (e.g. drawing the characters, drawing the problem and solution of the story). Students write sentences about each required element in the appropriate sections with varying length for grade/ability levels and your own requirements. The booklets can be done as a group with the teacher completing an example with the students or by the students individually.

Closure/Modifications: The lesson is complete when the student has completed all sections of the booklet. The activity may be modified for students with disabilities in a variety of ways: having the student write from a model, using a scribe to record what the student says, requiring pictures instead of words, allowing peers or adults (teachers, aides, volunteers) to offer ideas and assistance, placing lines on the paper for the student to write in, or writing partial sentences on the paper for the student to complete.

Assessment: You can assess the completed booklets using a few requirements: Are the booklets complete? Did the student demonstrate understanding of the elements accurately? Are all of the elements written about correctly (e.g. are the facts correct)? Are the sentences written correctly in terms of grammar?

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