Teaching Text Evidence with the book "Blizzard"

  Have you ever been working in a small group or administering a test and students raise their hands to ask, “what does this mean to provide text evidence?” I always tell my students, “that’s how we prove our answer. Text evidence is our proof.” Then I realized, after repeating this over and over, I need to take the time to really explore and teach text evidence directly.   

  There are so many important skills that our kids need to learn in respect to reading comprehension such as retell, author’s purpose, main idea, sequencing, summarizing, theme, characters traits, etc. When reflecting and responding to the questions surrounding these skills students are always asked to provide text evidence to support their claims.

   In order, for us to expect thorough responses we need to create an understanding of what text evidence really means, the vocabulary to respond effectively and time to practice these foundational skills. 

  I decided to create a series of resources on text evidence, featuring mini-lessons, skill practice and application as well as various other extensions surrounding the skill and theme. 

My Mini Lesson

  I think teaching text evidence with both nonfiction and fiction is important. For this mini-lesson I chose the realistic fiction text “Blizzard” by John Rocco. It’s a fun story based on the author’s experiences, through a child’s lens, during the blizzard of 1978.

  Before the lesson begins, I make sure I have my mentor posters displayed and typically a copy next to me that I can refer at the carpet or on the document camera. Some of my favorite mentor posters are included in my text evidence free resource. I also suggest going through the book ahead of time to select some questions you could ask the kids. I would select 5 questions. 

  When you gather with your students, remind them that they will be given questions in which they need to not only answer but be able to prove their answer is right by using text evidence

  I provide questions before I read, especially when I am reading for a specific purpose of comprehension. You can post the questions on the board or on simple sticky notes at the carpet so kids can see. Read the story. Assign a student, groups or partners to specific questions. Have them use one of the sentence starters (included in the freebie) to answer the question using text evidence. 

  Distribute sticky notes to write answers to place under questions on board or have groups just share out. Remind the group/students of what they are responsible for answering. Make sure they know that they will have to provide evidence or proof of when they saw that in the story. I suggest rereading the text so kids can look for those page numbers or specific phrases. 

  Once you have practiced this with your students you can distribute the Text Evidence RACE (Respond, Answer, Cite, Explain) worksheet (provided in freebie) to practice formally responding with text evidence. I would choose one question, and all go through the worksheet together as a class, so students can polish up their responses with support and confidence. Make sure to have the Text Evidence Sentence Starter Poster displayed as a tool for students to use.

  It’s so easy to assume that kids understand these skills or justify briefly touching on their meaning but taking extra time to teach these skills explicitly will pay off, saving you time in the long run, as well as and increasing student confidence and performance. 

  Click on the image below to download this free resource which is a glimpse into my Guided Reading with a Purpose series on Text Evidence with a festive snow theme. 

This FREEBIE is a part of the resource "Blizzard" and also featured in my Text Evidence Bundle with a fun snow theme. Click on either image below to check them out.  

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