School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 7

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 1.0 General Reading Processes

Topic E. General Reading Comprehension

Indicator 4. Use strategies to demonstrate understanding of the text (after reading)

Objective f. Connect the text to prior knowledge or personal experience


The teacher should select an informational or literary text for students to read. Prior to reading the teacher should conduct a class inventory that organizes their knowledge of an important idea in the text. Students should be asked to offer any words they know related to the topic, facts they know about the topic, experiences they have had related to the topic, and finally, after reviewing the three previous categories, what they would like to learn additionally about the topic. After reading, the teacher and student should continue the inventory by adding anything new that was learned about the topic. In addition, the class should review their inventory to check any areas for inaccuracies that become apparent after reading is complete. Finally, students should make judgments about how well their prior knowledge and experiences facilitated their understanding of the text.


This activity works well with literary text. After reading a literary passage where a student may achieve a comprehensive understanding of a character, the student should make judgments about the character using a semantic scale. A semantic scale runs from negative to positive, and a student will place his/her judgment of the character at a particular position on the scale. For example…

Character Name is…
Character Name is…

After each student has completed his/her scale, through discussion, students should be able to justify their placement with text support and personal experience. The most important idea a student should be able to express in this discussion is why they react to this character in this manner.


After the reading of a text is completed, the teacher should give each student an index card and ask him/her to write a small portion of the text that most appealed to him/her. On the back of the same card, the student should write why this part was most appealing. Once each student has a completed card, students should be placed in small groups. In the groups, students should share their choices and reasons with each other. Students should be encouraged to talk about what they did and did not like about the text, citing their experiences and knowledge and how those ideas affected their choice.


After students have read a number of literary texts, the teacher should compile a list of 3-4 characters from across the texts and ask students with which of these characters they would change places. The students should be instructed to cite reasons, skills, appearance, abilities, etc…that they possess that force their choices. While discussing student choices, the teacher should make certain that questions continually focus on personal experience and knowledge that cause the student to make a selection.