How I teach the Common Core Reading Informational Text Standards

How do I teach the Common Core reading informational text standards?

I have found that it is most effective to introduce and teach each standard in isolation. Many students benefit from being taught each standard explicitly. They succeed when they are given steps to follow and know what to expect. Once students have mastered standards, I integrate the standard into other activities.

Here is a sample schedule of how I teach each standard. (Of course the time spent for each lesson depends on the complexity of the standard and the students prior exposure to the standard.)

Day 1: Model (Approx. 15 min.)

1. Introduce the standard. Show students a poster of the steps you take to help you attack the standard in a reading passage. (I create the poster before and may leave some blanks for students to fill in.) Give students a "mini" anchor chart for their journal. Keep the student's engagement by having blanks for them to fill in as you go over it.

2. Model how to read a passage and answer questions based on the standard. You can put a passage on a projector or on a piece of chart paper. I usually just print the passage very big and paste it on a poster. It is helpful to have the poster for reteaching. Students also constantly refer back to the poster. Be sure when you model how to answer the questions, you are going through the steps. Model exactly what you think.  (NOTE: If you are using my Non Fiction Common Core Reading Comp. packets, you can pick one passage for the model. Model answering 2-3 questions. Save the rest of the questions for the We-Do Together portion of the lesson. )

*Remember- Modeling is not time for students to participate orally in the lesson. You should not be asking for any student input during the lesson. 

3. Closing: Before sending kids off for independent reading, centers, and small groups, I close the lesson by reviewing what we learned. On the first day, I may close the lesson by asking random students to repeat the steps back to me. (I also let them use their journal to refer to the steps. It will take a lot of practice throughout the week for students to internalize the steps.)

Day 2: Guided Practice- We Do Together

1. Have students bring their journals to the gathering place and open them to the Anchor chart from the day before. Display your anchor chart. Call on students to review the steps they need to follow to master the standard.

2. Display a passage on a projector or poster (you can use the same one from the day before if you have more questions that go with it.) Reread the passage. Tell students that today, you would like their help. Work as a class to go through the steps to answer the remaining questions. Make note of students who are quickly grasping the process and of students who need more support.


(To make this poster, I just went to print, then under size I clicked poster, then I changed the size to 250%). 

*If a lot of students are struggling, work with a lower level passage. Sometimes you may even need to go back to modeling and thinking aloud. I taught in an inclusion class with students who were two or more grade levels behind. Often times, I would continue to work with and support these students through the "we do with a partner" day. It is also very important to differentiate passages. I am currently working on adding first grade leveled passages to my store. 

3. Closing: On day two, I challenge students to practice the new standard in their independent reading. After small groups and centers, I ask for one to two student volunteers to share how they used the new standard. They must have something written in their journal or on a sticky note.

Day 3: Guided practice- We Do With a Partner

1. Review the steps students need to follow to master the standard.

2. Students who are ready will work with a partner on a new passage. Students who are not ready will work on a new passage with the teacher.

3. Closing: On day three, I ask students to practice the new standard in their independent reading. After small groups and centers, I ask for one to two volunteers to share how they used the new standard. They must have something written in their journal or on a sticky note.

Day 4: Independent Practice

1. Review the steps students need to follow to master the standard.

2. Students who are ready will work on a passage and question set independently.

3. Some students will work with a partner.

4. Some students will continue to work in guided practice with the teacher.

5. Closing: On day four, I expect students to practice the new standard in their independent reading. After small groups and centers, I choose two random students to share how they used the new standard. Everyone must have something written in their journal or on a sticky note.

*While it sounds chaotic to have students working on all different things, if you follow this routine every week, students will get the hang of it quickly. It is also important to have set rituals and routines in place. 

Day 5: Independent Practice (Everyone)

1. Review the steps students need to follow to master the standard.

2. Around day five, I have the entire class practicing on a passage independently. I differentiate passages. Students who started independent practice on day four get a more challenging passage (if they were successful). Students who were still struggling the day before get a passage on their independent reading level.

*I walk around the room and ensure I check on each child multiple times. If possible, I try to check off their work as I roam. This instant feedback is very helpful to students. It also helps you catch any misconceptions immediately and gives you time to confer with them quickly. 

3. Closing: On day five, I expect students to practice the new standard in their independent reading. After small groups and centers, I choose two random students to share how they used the new standard. Everyone must have something written in their journal or on a sticky note.

Day 6: Independent Practice Continued

1. Review the steps students need to follow to master the standard.

2. Students finish and correct their independent work from the day before.

* It is very important to review student work as soon as possible. Give students feedback immediately and guide them towards making corrections. 

2. I may pull my lowest group if they need more support. I may also rotate groups of students with similar mistakes on passages or similar reading levels.

3. Closing: From here on out, I expect students to practice the new standard in their independent reading. After small groups and centers, I choose two random students to share how they used the new standard.

4. Exit Ticket: All students must give me a sticky note or their journal to show me how they practiced the standard in their independent reading. Give feedback to students as needed.

*Sometimes I continue Independent practice for 4 days. If I have students struggling, this gives me more time to meet with small groups. It also gives my higher students more time to practice the standard with higher level text. 

Day 7: Assessment (If ready)

1. If most students mastered their independent work, I assess the following day. If there are still a lot of students struggling, I continue to reteach and provide support until they are independent.

Day 8- Review Assessment

1. Grade the assessment, but do not write the correct answers. Review the assessment as a class, or in small groups. I typically like to review assessments in small groups because students tend to pay better attention and grasp and correct their mistakes. I try to rotate through small groups quickly. I group students who got the same questions wrong.


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