Author Study: Improving Reading Comprehension Using Inference and Comparison

Students work collaboratively drawing inferences through an author study. Then, they compare and contrast their inferences about the author with a biography. Students repeat the inferring process with another author and then create their own biography based on their inferences. Their original biography is then compared to a factual biography to determine accuracy. This lesson plan provides step-by-step implementation instructions and printable resources. Lesson is appropriate for third through fifth grades. Drawing inferences is an important component of reading comprehension, so students need to be aware of both its benefits and its limitations. Beginning with several picture books by Paul Goble, students draw inferences about the author and apply them as they try to detect the errors in an inaccurate biography of the author. They refine their initial impressions through Internet research and correct the inaccuracies through critical comparison of biographical texts. Students then engage in a similar exercise as they study another author or illustrator of their choice, this time creating an author biography with deliberate errors, which will be corrected by a fellow student. Text from site.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.3
Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.8
Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.10
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two)...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.7
Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
GLE 0401.1.1
Demonstrate knowledge of Standard English usage, mechanics, and spelling.
GLE 0401.1.2
Demonstrate knowledge of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, and usage of words and phrases.
GLE 0401.3.1
Write for a variety of purposes and to a variety of audiences.
GLE 0401.3.2
Write in a variety of modes and genres (e.g., narration, description, personal expression, imaginative writing, response to literature, response to subject...
GLE 0401.3.3
Know and apply the steps of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, and publishing.
GLE 0401.4.1
Conduct research to access and present information.
GLE 0401.4.2
Collect, organize, and determine the reliability of researched information.
GLE 0401.4.3
Present research results in a written report.
GLE 0401.5.1
Continue to develop logic skills to facilitate learning and to enhance thoughtful reasoning.
GLE 0401.5.2
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of oral and written contexts.
GLE 0401.5.3
Apply logic skills to classroom situations and to selections read.
SPI 0401.1.12
Select appropriate antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms within context.
SPI 0401.1.13
Recognize and use grade appropriate vocabulary within context.
SPI 0401.3.8
Select appropriate time-order or transitional words to enhance the flow of a writing sample.
SPI 0401.8.2
Identify characters, setting, and plot in a passage.
SPI 0401.8.6
Identify and interpret similes and metaphors.
TSS.ELA.4.FL.WC.4
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills when encoding words; write legibly.
TSS.ELA.4.RI.KID.3
Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific...
TSS.ELA.4.RL.KID.3
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in a text, such as a character's thoughts, words, or...
TSS.ELA.4.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.4.W.PDW.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
TSS.ELA.4.W.RBPK.7
Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
TSS.ELA.4.W.RBPK.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research, applying grade 4 standards for reading.
TSS.ELA.4.W.RW.10
Write routinely over extended time frames for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences; promote writing fluency.
TSS.ELA.4.W.TTP.1
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
TSS.ELA.4.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information.
TSS.ELA.4.W.TTP.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using an effective technique, such as descriptive details and clear event sequences.
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

Student Objectives:

Students will

  • Learn what inferences are by looking at an illustrator's work and listing assumptions about the illustrator before reading his biography
  • Practice comprehension skills by reading texts, observing illustrations, inferring information from the illustrations, comparing written texts, and identifying errors in texts
  • Demonstrate comprehension skills they have learned by studying a different author's work and biography and creating their own biography
  • Practice writing a specific genre, biography, including factual errors other students will discover using their own developing inference and comparison skills

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Understanding
Extension suggestions: 

Extensions:

Have students research and write additional erroneous biographies using the online Bio-Cube as a prewriting tool. All biographies and answer keys can be collected in a class notebook for students to use as independent learning activities.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • Computers with Internet access and printing capability
  • Selection of picture books by Paul Goble
  • Chart paper and markers

References

Contributors: