2“Readers of nonfiction have to decide and remember what is important in the texts they read if they are going to learn anything from them.”~ Harvey & GoudvisStephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis (authors of Strategies That Work) share that when we teach the strategy of determining what is important, it is often introduced in nonfiction. Nonfiction text and this strategy go together.
3Decisions about importance are based on… The reader’s purposeThe reader’s schema for the text content - ideas most closely connected to the reader’s prior knowledge will be considered most importantThe reader’s sense of the aesthetic - what he or she values or considers worthy or beautifulAllow time for participants to read the slide.
4STRATEGIES USED FOR DETERMINING IMPORTANCE Before reading, determine the purpose for reading.
5Reading for a PurposeStudents need to have an understanding of the purpose for reading and viewing particular texts before they begin. Teachers can assist students to clarify the purpose of reading by asking the questions:Why are you reading this text?Are you reading for enjoyment, to retell, to answer questions, to gain information?
6Reading for a PurposeOnce a purpose for reading is established, students can be directed about which method of reading will best achieve that purpose. These methods for reading include:skimming: reading to gain an overall understanding of the content of the textscanning: reading to locate specific informationrereading: reading to confirm meanings and understandings and to clarify details.“Skimming and Scanning” may be a part of this process. Skimming and scanning are techniques which allow readers to only attend to the most important information (as determined by the text’s structure and content or by the reader’s own purposes).
7Determining The Purpose For Reading ENGAGE STUDENTS IN THE PURPOSE FOR READING1. Establish one clearly stated purpose - For example, “Read pages to find out what a tide pool is.”2. Model and directly teach students how to read for the stated purpose.
8“It is critical to support learners through the learning process and gradually release responsibility to them.”Keene & Zimmerman - Mosaic of ThoughtIndependent ApplicationIndependent PracticeThe gradual release of responsibility is assumed in teaching all the strategies. In the beginning, students are given a great deal of support and responsibility for learning, and working is gradually released to the students.Guided PracticeTeacher Modeling
9Teacher ModelingTeachers should model thinking aloud about their own process of determining importance during reading.Modeling should occur frequently using short selections. Teachers should focus not only on conclusions about importance, but on how and why they arrived at those conclusions.It is important to think aloud about how the focus on what you as the teacher believe to be important enhances comprehension. It would also be a good idea to include some of your own knowledge.
10Guided PracticeIn small or large group mini- lessons, students are invited to share their thoughts about what is important.Be sure students provide some evidence or reasoning to support their judgments.
11Independent PracticeStudents may work individually, meet in small groups, or work in pairs to compare ideas about what is most important in text and how they came to that conclusion.Guided Reading or small instructional groups should focus on determining importance during the strategy study. This would be a good time to discuss different conclusions about important ideas if all are reading the same text.
12STRATEGIES USED FOR DETERMINING IMPORTANCE Finding the Main Idea
13Main idea refers to determining what is important. Main idea is often confused with topic.
15Most main ideas are implied and are not directly stated by the author. Main idea is difficult.Most main ideas are implied and are not directly stated by the author.Must be determined by using the sum of the information providedRequires the reader to think about several pieces of information at once
16Main idea is difficult.Main idea thinking is tentative. Readers alter their thinking as they encounter new information later in the text.
17Five SECRETS TO FIGURING OUT MAIN IDEA Rereading what the author has written and thinking about what the author wants us to understand is most important. Put yourself in author’s place.Examine the words and phrases (the details) for clues to what is important.Read Slide17
18Five SECRETS TO FIGURING OUT MAIN IDEA 3. Ask questions about what, in your experience (schema), the combined clues seem to say about what is valued.4. Decide what the main idea is by saying, “If I had written this and said things this way, what would that say about what I thought was important?”5. Remember your purpose for reading.18
19Five SECRETS TO FIGURING OUT MAIN IDEA - SUMMARY Reread (#1 strategy independent readers use when something stumps them in the text.)Read to find the cluesPut the clues togetherPut yourself in the author’s place to figure out the main idea.Remember your purpose.19
20NonFiction Text Conventions Features that Signal Importance Many textbooks today present information in a variety of visual formats in addition to print, and offer numerous study aids that highlight what is important in the chapter. Unless attention is specifically called to these text features, students often skip over them as they read to complete an assignment. We need to assist students in noticing ways the chapter forecasts organizational structure (i.e. cause/effect, compare/contrast, concept/definition, problem/solution, and so on) and how it signals key concepts and ideas.Features thatSignal Importance
21NonFiction Features“We must teach our students what nonfiction is. Teaching our students that expository text has predictable characteristics and features they can count on before they read allows them to construct meaning more easily as they read.”~ Debbie MillerNonfiction text features help to focus readers as they sort important information from less important details.
22NonFiction Features Labels Captions Comparisons Graphics Maps Fonts and EffectsTable of ContentsIndexGlossaryAppendixAllow participants to read through the list. More information related to text features can be found in Strategies That Work – Chapter 9 and Appendix F.In addition to these text features, students need to learn to attend to text clues that signal importance. These would include phrases such as, “For example; For instance; In fact; In conclusion; Most important; But…; Therefore; On the other hand; and Such as.”A powerful instructional idea would be to create an Anchor Chart related to these text features(See Strategies That Work, page 121, for more information.)
24Graphic Organizer (2 Column Notes) Ladder MaterialMain IdeaSupporting DetailsDifferent ladders should be used for different applicationsORAluminum is strong, light, and non-corrosive, but conductive of electricityWood is nonconductive if kept clean and dry, but heavy and susceptible to rotFiberglass is strong and non-conductiveYou should consider your purpose and application when choosing a ladderOnce again the versatile two column notes outline also comes in handy as an aid to guide students towards understanding the strategy of Determining Importance. When using two columns, the left column would state the main idea and the right column would list the details that support the topic.
25What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom? FIRST and Second DAY – Teacher gives students the reading assignment and explains the purpose for reading.Teacher reads aloud. Students read text silently along with teacher for 5 minutes. Teacher models his/her own determining importance in the reading assignment for students.
26What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom? First and Second DayModeling ExampleLet’s look at the title and the paragraphs.To decide what is most important (the main idea), I first have to get “inside the author’s head” or put myself in the author’s place to decide what the author values or considers important.
27What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom? First and Second Day ModelingI reread the sentences and try to decide how the author is feeling.I look for details or clues such as “aluminum ladders aren’t good around electricity” and “wooden ladders are heavier and susceptible to rot” to help me know what the author thinks is important.
28What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom? First and Second Day ModelingWhen I combine these detail or clues with my own experience of painting my gutters and painting my ceilings , I decide what all these words have in common; all the words seem to convey the idea that different jobs require different ladders.With teacher’s direction, students fill in graphic organizer for main idea and supporting details.
29What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom? THIRD DAY – Teacher gives students the reading assignment and explains the purpose for reading (guided practice).Teacher and students read text silently for 5 minutes, and teacher asks students for details or clues that help them know what the author thinks is important.As students offer examples, with the teacher’s direction, the class fills in the graphic organizers for supporting details.
30What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom? Guided Practice Third day continuedTeacher asks students to combine the details or clues with their own experience to decide what the author’s main idea is.As students offer examples, with the teacher’s direction, the class fills in the graphic organizers for main idea.
31What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom? Teacher gives students guided practice by following the Third Day format through the week ending 3/17/06.
32What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom? From 3/20 to 3/30 – Teacher gives students independent practice. Teacher gives students the reading assignment and students determine purpose for reading.
33What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom? Independent practiceStudents maintain 5 minutes of silent reading.Students write supporting details and main idea on graphic organizer.Teacher asks for supporting details and main idea and discusses answers with class. Students may correct graphic organizers.
34What does Determining Importance look like in my classroom? TWICE A WEEK -Teacher gives students the reading assignment.Students sustain 5 minutes of silent reading.Students fill in graphic organizers.The teacher asks for main ideas and supporting details.A system of distribution and collection of graphic organizers is in place.
35DECIDE WHAT'S IMPORTANT A ninth grade student shared with his teacher that, "Determining importance is like a strainer, and the words are like noodles in a pot. It sifts out the water and leaves the noodles.”Let’s continue to work with all our students, giving them the tools they need to be successful readers.