Determining Importance Studies
As I read/learn/listen/view, I work to...
• Identify importance striving to grasp the messages, main ideas, themes, and feelings of the text
I talk to myself by saying:
n “The most important idea here is…”
n “The message(s) here is...”
n “The author wants me to learn…”
n “I know that this is really important
n “From the title, the big idea is…”
Studying Why and How to Identify Importance in “Texts”
The Self-Talk of Identifying Importance:
I was surprised to learn/read...
The most important thing to remember is...
The most important ideas here are...
The message here is...
The author wants me to learn...
My reason for reading this piece is...
I was surprised by/I was surprised to read...
The most important thing to remember is/are...
The big ideas here are...
From the title, I know the main idea of this piece is ________ and I will read to find the details...
Prompting for Identifying Importance:
Ø Tell me what you are thinking.
Ø What are the big ideas here?
Ø When I read, I expect to learn something. What did you learn from this book?
Ø What is the main idea(s)/messages/theme here/in this text?
Ø Is this a factual piece or one based on the author’s opinion? How do you know?
Ø As I read, I find surprises. These are usually the places where I learned something new. Did you find any surprises here?
Ø How did the graphs/picture/charts/maps/bold print help you understand this piece/text?
Ø What does the author want us to learn from this piece?
Ø We are studying how we determine importance as we read. Take me to a place in your reading where you figured out what is important in this text/ story. How do you know that?
Mentor Texts for Cultivating Students’ Capacity to Determine Importance:
Ackerman, A. & A. Our Mom Has Cancer
Aliki How A Book is Made
Aliki The King’s Day
Angelou, Maya I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Barrett, Judi A Snake Is Totally Tail
Battle-Lavert, Gwendolyn Papa’s Mark
Brain, Marshall More How Stuff Works
Brown, Margaret Wise The Importance Book
Bunting, Eve Fly Away Home
Bunting, Eve Someday A Tree
Bunting, Eve The Wall
Bunting, Eve Wednesday’s Surprise
Cole, Joanna Magic School Bus Series
Crew & Smith Troy Thompson’s Excellent Poetry Book
DePaola, Tomie Oliver Button Is A Sissy
Ehlert, Lois Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf
Elleman, Barbara Tomie dePaola: His Art & His Stories
Fletcher, Ralph Writer’s Notebook
Fletcher, Ralph Fig Pudding
Fletcher, Ralph Marshfield Dreams: When I Was a Kid
Fox, Mem Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge
Gibbons, Gail Monarch Butterflies
Gibbons, Gail Trains
Gibbons, Gail Up the Skyscraper
Hakim, Joy History of Us
Haley, Alex Malcolm X
Hawes, Julie Fireflies In The Night
Hendershot, Judith In Coal County
Hershenhorn, Esther S is for Story: A Writer’s Alphabet
Hopkins, Lee Bennett Been To Yesterdays
Jakes, John Susanna of the Alamo: A True Story
Janeczko, Paul The Place My Words Are Looking For
Jenkins, Steve Actual Size
Jenkins, Steve Just a Second
Johnson, Tony It’s About Dogs
Judge, Lita One Thousand Tracings
Katz, Bobbi We The People
Kitchen, Bert Somewhere Today
Kovacs, Deborah Very First Things To Know About Bears
Krementz, Jill A Very Young Actress
Little, Jean Hey World, Here I Am!
Livingston, Myra Cohn Up In The Air
Lloyd, Pamela How Writers Write
Lobel, Arnold Fables
Lowry, Lois Looking Back: A Book of Memories
Meyer and Meyer Teen Ink: Our Voices, Our Visions
Miller, William Richard Wright and the Library Card
Moutoussamy-Ashe, C. Daddy and Me
Neuschwander, Cindy Sir Cumference and the Great Knight Angleland: A Math Adventure (series)
Nobisso, Josephine In English, Of Course
O’Brien, Patrick The Bookworm’s Feast
Parring Then and Now
Quackenbush, Robert Don’t You Dare Shoot That Bear! A Story of T. Roosevelt
Reynolds, Peter The Dot
Ryan, Pam Munoz When Marian Sang
Sabuda, Robert Tutankhamen’s Gift
Sandin, Joan Coyote School News
Scieszka, Jon Guys Read
Scieszka, Jon Guys Write for Guys Read
Smith, Lane Math Curse
Solheim, James It’s Disgusting and We Ate It: True Food
Facts From Around the World and Throughout History
St. George, Judith So You Want To Be An Inventor?
St. George, Judith So You Want To Be President?
Rylant, Cynthia Missing May
Rylant, Cynthia Waiting To Waltz
Ueland, Brenda If You Want To Write
Verstraete, Stan S is for Scientist
Voorhees, Don Why Does Popcorn Pop?...and 201 Other
Fascinating Facts About Food
Weeks, Sarah Two eggs, please.
Wood, Jenny The Animal Book
Yolen, Jane Writing Books for Children
And, first and foremost, PIECES Students HAVE AUTHORED as well as the following texts:
& Colorado Kids (Denver Post)
& Internet Texts
& Mini-Page (Rocky Mountain News)
& React (Denver Post)
& Reference Texts
& Scholastic News
& Time for Kids
& Travel Logs
Titles are a promise of things to come.
The title of a text usually gives us the main idea or ideas. Today as you read, collect important words which seem to connect to the title (main idea) of this piece.
Important Words :
Why this word is important:
My one sentence summary of this text (oral and/or written):
Determining the BIG, Important Ideas As We Read
A few tips about how to figure out what is important as we read:
v The title often gives us the main idea of the piece.
v From the title of your book/text, what do you predict the main idea of this piece will be?
v What words do you expect to read in this piece?
v From reading this piece, craft a few sentences that capture the main idea(s) in your own words (and/or draw pictures of your thinking here).
© L. Benson
I expect to find surprises when I read nonfiction.
These surprises represent what I am learning as I read a
Surprises I found in ________________:
Here is a drawing of my learning:
Finding the Big Ideas in Novels
When I am reading a chapter book, I learn more about the character and problem of the story. The important ideas I look for are how the character is going to solve the problem.
The big ideas about the character and problem in this chapter are...
How I determine important ideas: (Optional notes or thoughts for our Talking Circle)
I found a powerful passage as I read/heard/viewed ___________ today:
I found these surprises as I read ________________ today…
This seemed powerful to me because...
From these surprises, I learned…
Identifying Importance - Bookmarks
Identifying Importance - Bookmarks