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Have you ever felt like you wanted to apologize to your past students for what you didn’t know how to do when you were a newer teacher?? I certainly do! So, in lieu of trying to find my thousands of past students to apologize, I’m going to pay it forward by giving you the information I wish I had back then.

I wish I’d told my kids that authors set up texts in a way that highlights the most important information. Then, I would have given my students some clues as to how to find it: 

  1. Look at the dialogue. The author usually uses dialogue to give the most important information.
  2. Look for repeats. The author usually repeats information again and again. That is the most important information.
  3. Want to find out where the thesis is? Look at the last sentence or last two sentences of the first paragraph, it’s usually found there.

These are the kinds of tools we need to arm our kids with so they can take a piece of text, break it down, and fully understand it. 

If you found this helpful, and want more tips to dig deeper into this work better unpack this for your students, check out these books:

  • How to Teach Students to Write Informational Text
  • How to Teach Students to Think Critically about Text

Books can be found at amazon.com or by clicking here.