Third graders (RI.3.8) are asked to "describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence)." It's time for them to start looking critically at text to determine which structure was used by the author. Building this into each nonfiction reading experience during the year will guarantee that students are ready for the next step in their progress toward evaluating claims made in informational texts.
Higher order questions naturally follow exercises such as this. You might ask:
- Why did the author include these points?
- What other points could he/she have included?
- Why do you think these points were excluded here?
- How could this argument be strengthened?
- Is this argument valid? Why or why not?
Students in these grades are ready to read with a critical eye and realize that not all written words should be taken at face value.