Saturday, June 21, 2014

Determining the Author's Central Message

....teach students how to determine the central message of a text.

This is a strategy I learned when I was working on my masters degree. When I was a student, determining the central moral and later on the theme of a text was a skill I always struggled with, so when I learned this framework, I was really excited.

 I created  a little freebie, so you can use the author's message framework with your students. You can download it from my TPT or TN store. I'd appreciate if you'd follow me while you're there! ;)

I've used this many times with my students. It is a very versatile framework.  I just take the students through this series of questions, and they almost magically figure out the author's message. Finding ways to connect the author's message to their lives is incredibly powerful!

Let's take a brief look at what this framework looks like with a book we all know: Green Eggs and Ham

1. What is the problem?
Sam's friend does not want to eat green eggs and ham.
2. What does the character do about the problem?
He tries to get Sam to go away, and he finally agrees to try the green eggs and ham just to get Sam to leave him alone.
3. What does the character learn?
He actually does like green eggs and ham!
4. What does the author want us to learn?
We need to give things a try before deciding we don't like them.

As students get comfortable with the process, they can start doing it independently. The freebie includes a student worksheet.

When I introduce this skill, I like to use books by Helen Lester  (Tacky is my favorite!) because they work very well. Another good author to use is Kevin Henkes.

If you'd like another versatile comprehension strategy, read about how teach students to retell a story using key details. There's another freebie there!

I hope you're enjoying our summer series on Diggin' Into Next Year. Hop around and keep learning about what comprehension looks like in other classrooms.

If you found this post to be helpful or interesting, I hope you'll follow me on social media and at my TPT or TN store.

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  1. This is great! I would love to pin in, but I don't see the pin button. Do you know how I can share it.

    1. You inspired me to figure out how to add the pin it button! It's easy now!

  2. I just found you and love your posters.


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