School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 2

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 2.0 Comprehension of Informational Text

Indicator 6. Read critically to evaluate informational text

Objective c. Explain whether the author's ideas are clear


Select an appropriate set of directions or recipe that could be easily projected for whole class viewing. You may want to create this document to insure that there are obvious flaws for the students to note in their evaluation, such as the simple recipe below.

Mexican Popcorn


10 cups popped popcorn

1 T. taco seasoning

cup melted butter

cup grated cheddar or Colby cheese

1. Place the popcorn in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the seasoning with the butter. Add grated cheese, then stir into the warm popcorn.
Makes 10 cups.

Display the reading. Explain to the children that when an author writes for informational purposes, his goal is to make the information clear for his readers. In order to do this, the author writes to an audience (readers). He imagines what his audience may know about the topic and then presents his information in a way that would be clear to them. In this case, the teacher may use a think aloud, such as: This is a recipe for Mexican Popcorn. I started reading this recipe by reading the ingredients list. I knew what all of the ingredients were, however, I wasn't sure whether I would use 1 tablespoon or 1 teaspoon of the taco seasoning. I checked with someone who cooks and they told me that an upper case T. usually means 1 tablespoon. Once I cleared that up, I read the steps to make the recipe. I couldn't figure out why the author put all of the steps in one step. I think it would have been more helpful to break the steps up. I wasn't sure if I should add the grated cheese to the small bowl with the seasoning and butter, or if I should put it with the popcorn before I stirred in the seasoning with the butter. I think that the author could have made his recipe clear for the reader by making these changes. Ask the children if they would have any further suggestions for the author. Show another enlarged copy of an informational text and guide students through a discussion evaluating the clarity of the author's ideas. Divide students into small groups or pairs as you ask them guiding questions about the clarity of the text. Give frequent opportunities for whole group sharing and refining. Follow the whole group lesson with small group practice using text that is matched to the challenge of the readers. Appropriate text for this exercise could be content text books, informational leveled texts, recipes, experiments, sets of directions, flyers and posters, etc.

The internet is a great source for simple sets of directions. To get you started you may want to check out one of these sites: