• Determining Importance

    kids reading
    Determining Importance is figuring out what is most important to remember in the text  
    ~Concrete Experience: My Backpack
    The students are asked to think about what is important to keep in a backpack.  As the students share their thoughts, experiences, and ideas, they realize that there are some similarities and some differences. Then I share that we are going to take a look at my backpack today and they are going to consider the items and determine the importance.  Since they know a little bit about me, they are pretty good at determining the importance.  
    ~Sensory Experience: Just Add Water!
     Many kids need proof that a strategy will really help them.  This simple exercise helps students remember what the process of determining importance is all about.  I bring in two cooking pots, a large plastic strainer, and a bag of partially cooked spaghetti.  As the children gather around, we place the spaghetti into one of the pots and fill it with water.  At this point I ask students, "Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to remember everything you read?".  I continue to tell them "Our brains brains just can't seem to hold all of that information at the same time.  That's ok.  Thoughtful readers use a special strategy to deal with this problem; it's called determining importance".  At this point I tell them this is a demonstration of what a reader's brain does when it is reading.  Think about how two pans, a strainer, and some spaghetti can represent determining importance when we read.  I place the strainer onto the empty pot and then pick up the pot containing the pasta and water.  Ever so slowly, I pour the contents through the strainer onto the empty pot and then pick up the pot containing the pasta and the water.  This is just like our brains when we are reading!  Your brain is like the strainer and the words are like the noodles!
    ~Wordless Books
    To continue to reinforce the reading strategy determining importance, the students are partnered up with another student and given a wordless picture book and asked to place sticky notes on each page to identify what is important.  Zoom and ReZoom are great books to use with this lesson.
    Determining Importance