Lesson Plans aligned with the Maine Learning Results
 

Lesson One Understanding the Reader
  Students have many different, unformed and incorrect perceptions about what it means to comprehend text. Many students think that they are supposed to soak up the information they encounter in their reading. They are unaware of the conscious activity that comprehension requires. Good readers make connections between what they already know and new information. The first activity, Think About Yourself, requires students to identify their familiarity level with the topics they will encounter in the newspaper. The second activity, Think About the Newspaper, has students anticipate where they can find different kinds of information in the newspaper.
Download: Elementary Lesson 1 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 1 | Maine Learning Results
   
Lesson Two Understanding the Newspaper
 

Your students will be somewhat familiar with the newspaper even if they have not studied it in class or if they don’t read it on a regular basis. They may have a limited understanding of headlines and news stories, but they may be unaware of the depth and breadth of information available to readers in each day’s newspaper. The purpose of this lesson is to familiarize students with the newspaper in preparation for the other lessons that follow. This activity has two parts. In the first, students will go on a scavenger hunt to find specific newspaper elements. In the second part of the activity, students will analyze elements they find in one section of the newspaper. They then will share their findings with the class.
Download: Elementary Lesson 2 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 2 | Maine Learning Results

   
Lesson Three Making Predictions
 

Anticipation and prediction are key characteristics of effective reading. Efficient readers develop ideas about what to expect next in the text. They modify their expectations as they obtain additional information while reading. When the text suddenly stops making sense, good readers go back and reread. Making predictions becomes automatic to good readers, but it is a skill that can be taught and developed. In this lesson, students will practice making predictions as a deliberate and intentional process. As they practice, predicting will become more automatic as they read.
Download: Elementary Lesson 3 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 3 | Maine Learning Results

   
Lesson Four Generating Questions
 

Generating questions works hand-in-hand with making predictions. Good readers are inquiring readers. They ask questions of themselves and the writer as they move through the text. While teachers often use the newspaper “Five Ws and the H” – who, what, where, when, why, how – as a comprehension aid, it is important for students to think beyond those questions. In this activity, students will begin with the basics, the Five Ws and the H, and then generate their own questions. Generating additional questions encourages students to think more deeply about the meaning of the story they read.
Download: Elementary Lesson 4 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 4 | Maine Learning Results

   
Lesson Five Creating a Visual Image
 

Students are better able to comprehend what they read when they remain engaged with the text. One strategy many good readers use is to create mental pictures of the text while they are reading. The ability to create visual images acts as both a mark of comprehension and a tool for remembering what is read. In this activity, students will actively and intentionally create mental pictures to express their understanding of a news or feature story. With practice, they can develop this strategy until it becomes automatic.
Download: Elementary Lesson 5 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 5 | Maine Learning Results

   
Lesson Six Making Connections
 

Readers who comprehend well make connections between the text they read and their prior knowledge and experiences. Students who struggle with comprehension often approach reading passively; they do not actively engage with the text and make the connections between what they already know and new information. In this activity, students are directed to make connections between themselves and the text. With practice, they can learn to make these connections automatically.
Download: Elementary Lesson 6 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 6 | Maine Learning Results

   
Lesson Seven Monitoring Comprehension
 

Good readers check their comprehension as they read. When they encounter text that confuses them, they select from a variety of helpful strategies. They may go back and read part of the text again because they missed or misunderstood previous information. They may have to look up an unfamiliar word. They may have to read more about the topic in another text. They also may discuss the topic with someone who is more familiar with the subject. Many students, on the other hand, do not use “fix-up” strategies when they become confused. In this activity, students are required to think about what they can do when they realize they do not understand what they are reading. With practice, students can learn to take more control of their own comprehension.
Download: Elementary Lesson 7 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 7 | Maine Learning Results

   
Lesson Eight Summarizing Information
 

Summarizing is one of the most difficult comprehension skills for students to develop. Student summaries are either too vague or a collection of many poorly organized details. The newspaper provides many excellent examples of summaries because news stories often are written in an “inverted pyramid” format. The headline provides the main idea and the lead paragraph answers most of the Five Ws: who, what, where and when; the why and/or how often appear further down in the story or must be inferred. Therefore, it is not appropriate to have students summarize news stories – the reporter has already done it in the lead. However, feature stories do not follow the inverted pyramid format and can be used to develop summaries. Feature stories are stories about timely topics, but they are not necessarily late-breaking or hard news. The language of feature stories is less formal that that of news stories; it is more conversational. While feature stories contain the newspaper Five Ws, they often focus on one of the Ws. You will find feature stories about remarkable people (who); unusual collections, hobbies or special events (what); or fascinating places to visit (where).
Download: Elementary Lesson 8 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 8 | Maine Learning Results

   
Lesson Nine Using Language Effectively
 

The newspaper is an excellent resource for language study, whether you use news and feature stories, editorials and opinion pieces, arts reviews, sports stories, display ads or even the comics. Reporters and editors are careful and precise with their language. Advertisers invest much time and money to find the most effective language to describe their products. In this activity, students will explore the way in which careful word choices can increase or decrease the effectiveness of a message or text.
Download: Elementary Lesson 9 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 9 | Maine Learning Results

   
Lesson Ten Studying Content-Specific Language
 

Every subject or topic has some vocabulary that is used primarily with it. For example, an infield fly is specific to baseball and adagio is specific to music. Students who have limited prior knowledge and experiences have difficulty with the vocabulary used in reading about topics that are unfamiliar to them. A student who has never attended, participated in or watched a baseball game has no experience with the jargon of that sport. The newspaper provides opportunities for students to experience a wide range of vocabulary because it contains stories and sections about many different subjects and topics.
Download: Elementary Lesson 10 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 10 | Maine Learning Results

   
Lesson Eleven Comprehending the Classified Ads
 

The classified ad section of the newspaper provides students with an excellent opportunity to apply their research skills in a practical situation. Students may not realize that the classified ads have an index to direct readers to specific sections. Many times, each section has another sub-index at the top of the category. There is usually a rationale for how the information is organized in each section. For example, cars might be listed alphabetically and newest to oldest. Pets may be listed alphabetically within specific categories. In this activity, students will see the value of understanding and using organizational and reference skills.
Download: Elementary Lesson 11 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 11 | Maine Learning Results

   
Lesson Twelve Comprehending the Comics
 

The comics section of the newspaper can be used to help students develop critical thinking skills. Comics are motivational because although they appear to be created for entertainment, comic strips today address many personal, interpersonal and social issues. In this activity, students will evaluate the character and behaviors of comic strip characters and compare them to their own behaviors.
Download: Elementary Lesson 12 | Maine Learning Results
Download: Middle/High Lesson 12 | Maine Learning Results

   
   
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