In the Driver's Seat
Students practice self-monitoring by noting which parts of a text they understood, and which parts they struggled with.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
- Unit Plan:
Students will make connections and self-monitor for understanding.
This lesson is excerpted from Differentiated Literacy Centers by Margo Southall.
- Text-to-Self Connections: Encourage and model for students how to make connections that resonate with their lives and draw them closer to the text. Focus on events and ideas that reoccur across the text, rather than minor details such as individual words that are useful only on that one page (Miller, 2002).
- Text-to-Text Connections: You may display a cumulative chart of books and other reading materials that you have read together as a class to support these connections. Introduce and make a list of the types of text-to-text connections students can make, such as comparing characters’ personalities and actions, story events, themes or messages the author is trying to convey, and different versions of the same story.
- Text-to-World Connections: Many of the stories we read aloud to students may reflect issues and events taking place in the world beyond the classroom. World issues and events are often reflected in nonfiction magazine articles students may read and discuss, and can also be found in literature where a character is in conflict with larger societal issues, such as the prejudice depicted in the books written on the life of Ruby Bridges. Historical fiction and nonfiction, biographies, and survival stories depicting conflict with nature often provide examples for this type of connection.
- In the Driver’s Seat (PDF)
- folder or student notebooks
Set Up and Prepare
- For individual response sheets, make copies of the reproducible and place them in a folder at the center. If students will respond in their notebooks, make several task cards by laminating copies of the reproducible.
- Read aloud a short passage and describe the connections you make to the character or topic. Point out any roadblocks that stood in the way of your comprehension. These may include a confusing event, fact or idea, a word you do not know, and complex language structures. Model several strategies to clarify these, such as rereading, reading on, thinking about what you already know and what would make sense, looking inside the word for parts you know, and examining the pictures. Explain that identifying what you understand and what you don’t and then trying to make sense of the confusing parts are skills all good readers use.
- Students self-monitor for understanding by describing connections they made to the character or topic. They also share their prior knowledge about the topic.
- Next, students identify the parts of the reading that they found confusing or puzzling.
- Students fill in the graphic organizer, recording their responses on the reproducible or in their notebooks.