NOTE: This lesson is 1 of the 5 lessons included in our "Key Ideas and Details Lesson 5-Pack"
Prerequisite Knowledge: This lesson assumes students already know how to Code a Text and use Two-Column Notes. Lessons on those skills are available in our "Literacy Skill Building Activities for Any Text" lesson 7-Pack.
Common Core Rationale:
CCSS Reading Anchor Standard 1 calls for students to “Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.” Based on the current grade level you teach, your individual standard will focus on an aspect of this competency as it grows in complexity from grade K to grade 12.
In the early elementary grades, the focus of this work is on students asking and answering questions to demonstrate an understanding of key details explicitly stated in a text (who, what, when, where, etc…). In upper elementary grades, demonstrating the ability to make logical text-based inferences is added to demonstrating an understanding of what they text states explicitly, and the skills of referring back to and quoting the text accurately as supporting pieces of evidence are introduced. In the middle grades, students work on the skill of citing textual evidence to support conclusions about what they text states explicitly states and for inferences made. The term “cite” as used here means to quote, mention, or bring forward evidence from the text as authoritative proof, support, or illustration for the idea expressed. The work on citing evidence begins in 6th grade with students being able to cite any one piece of relevant textual evidence to support a conclusion; grows in 7th grade to citing several pieces of relevant textual evidence to support a conclusion; and advances to determining and citing the piece of textual evidence that most strongly supports a conclusion in the 8th grade. In the high school grades, the emphasis becomes citing strong and thorough evidence to support conclusions and considerations of where the text leaves matters uncertain.
As is clear from the progression, students who have not reached a level of proficiency in an earlier stage of developing this competency are likely to greatly struggle in achieving the proficiency of a later stage. Therefore, you should use the CCSS progression as mapped out across the grade levels to help make decisions about how to differentiate for students with varying needs. For example, if you have an 8th grader who cannot quote accurately from a text, it will be difficult for that student to cite textual evidence. In early instances of student work on this CCSS competency, that student and similarly situated students would benefit from differentiation, perhaps in a small-group lesson on accurate quotations, while the rest of the class begins their citation work via a literacy skill-building activity structure.
Value of Concept:
Close reading to draw conclusions about what the text states explicitly and make logical text-based inferences are the foundation for all other CCSS literacy work. None of the other competencies outlined in the CCSS standards can be done well if students are unable to do this type of thinking as they read.
While, on the surface, this does not seem like a difficult aspect of reading or type of thinking for students, it is a step that many students have been conditioned to skip. If students’ prior experiences with reading have mainly been to find answers to specific questions or to take notes, students likely have been trained to skip any actual thinking about texts. If one’s goal for reading has always been to complete a specific task (i.e. answer a question or accumulate a page of notes) rather than reading for the purpose of understanding and thinking about ideas presented in the text, this should be no surprise. For content area teachers, this may be an especially difficult mentality to overcome because many content area teachers have become accustomed to reducing or over-simplifying reading to a process of completing worksheets, answering low-level questions, or accumulating notes with the singular goal of students extracting content facts or concepts. Inadvertently, such exercises have conditioned many students (and teachers) to see reading as a process of using tricks or strategies to filter out everything about the text except for the facts or concepts that are “needed” because they may show up on a test.
The type of reading that is needed for success with the CCSS competencies begins with closely reading a text with the intentions of understanding and thinking about the ideas and information presented in it.