Swoosh! Hear that? That’s the sound of the school year flying by at light-speed! I just sent home report cards for the first quarter, which if you do the math means we are 25% done with the year. Already!? Faced with the reality that there always seems to be more curriculum than time to teach it, I knew I’d need to have a system or two in place. I didn’t want to get to April or May and realize that elements of the curriculum had been overlooked.
Nonfiction text is a huge piece of the ELA curriculum, and it should be. Most of what I read as an adult in the “real world” is nonfiction. Websites, articles in newspapers and magazines, professional books and journals. Even recipes and owner’s manuals! So now that we’ve settled the importance of nonfiction in our lives, how do we make sure we’re teaching our students to comprehend it? Answer – question stems cards.
Not Just for Guided Reading
These handy cards are kept on a loose binder ring, and I can easily pull them out to question my students once we’ve read a piece of nonfiction. While I store them in my basket of guided reading supplies, I often grab them during a science or social studies lesson. After we’ve read an article in our Missouri Studies Weekly newspaper, these question stems remind me to address those skills specifically listed in my state’s standards.
But Wait…There’s More!
I was faced with a dilemma, though, when I had a set of fabulous comprehension strategies question stems. The questions were each on a full-size page. Definitely not suitable for my ring binder system! The solution, however, was easy. I selected the pages I wanted to print. Then I chose “multiple” with 4 pages per sheet of paper. Include “print page border” to serve as a guide when trimming and suddenly my anchor charts were the perfect card size. Love!
Free Question Stems Cards
My state (Missouri) recently updated our ELA standards (yes, again) so I had to revise my nonfiction question stems to match my new standards. You can click on the link below to download this free resource, but keep in mind that the questions are aligned to both my state and my district’s curriculum. They may not match yours exactly, but I still think you’ll find them useful. Happy teaching!