In this lesson, students are on the fourth read aloud of the text, Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. The focus of the lesson is a series of text-dependent questions that call attention to the exceptional figurative language and vocabulary in the book. Students participate in paired and whole class discussion. This lesson is a strong example of Core Action 2, especially examining language the author uses.
The Language of Owl Moon (Doetch/Falk)Download
As part of a close reading lesson, teachers reread parts of a complex text and pose text-dependent questions while students listen and discuss in pairs. Then, as a whole class, students discuss their answers to the questions.
The teacher asks, “What does the author mean when she writes, ‘The trees stood still as giant statues'?" prompting students to delve into the figurative language used in the text. When a student answers without providing elaboration, the teacher prompts him to add to his answer.
In this portion of the read-aloud, the teacher asks students, "What does the author mean when she writes, 'And when their voices faded away, it was as quiet as a dream'?" Because this story contains so many examples of challenging figurative language--something that might confuse students--the teacher asks specific questions about it and prompts them to explain their thinking.
Discussion about text can be challenging for young children; here the teacher allows students to discuss the text at an in-depth level by giving them sentence stems and opportunities to practice the skill. She gives them the structure, allows them to discuss, and then recaps the salient points for the whole group.
The text presents an opportunity for students to think about the definition of the word "stained" and to think about this word in a different context. The teacher poses the question, “What does the author mean when she says, ‘The shadows were the blackest thing I had ever seen, they stained the white snow'?"
After determining the definition of the term "echo," the teachers ask a question about a different kind of echo as it is used in the text. Since this text has such rich vocabulary, the teachers are using every opportunity to broaden and expand what students know about words.
In this exchange, the teacher supports a student who is struggling to understand the events in the story by prompting another student to share his selected text evidence and explanations. In providing textual evidence, the second students helps the first student to figure out her misconception about the text.
The text, Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, offers rich illustrations and text that has exceptional use of language. Aside from building knowledge about the wintry season and owl hunting, this book presents a lot of opportunity for students to enrich and expand their knowledge of words and complex use of vocabulary.