Reader Ready: Standard by Standard {RL 1.2 and RL 2.2 - Determine the Central Message}

Today we are going to take a look at RL.2; determining the central message.  This is part of our Reader Ready Blog Series.  See below to catch up with other posts!


The main point we try to get across with this standard is that good readers think about the central message, or lesson, that can be learned from the character(s) / book.  We try to emphasize the importance of thinking about how what happened in the story led to the character(s) learning something.  We talk about the fact that often these lessons can be applied in our own lives as well.

The "Reader Ready" anchor chart we use for this standard is called, "Lesson Link."  The "Lesson Link" is a visual that provides students with a reminder to think about 3 things:  

1.  What happened?

2.  What lesson did the character learn?  /  What lesson did the book teach? 

3.  How do you know?  (Provide evidence!)    

{Lesson Link: a reader thinks about the lesson learned...we think about what the character(s) or book can teach us}

We use this anchor chart as a class for a variety of books; in this case it was for the book, Swimmy.  We give students post it notes to write their response when asked what the lesson was.  From this anchor chart, we can see who "gets it," and who needs a bit more instruction in determining the lesson. We don't use this anchor chart, however, until we have done a couple of read alouds where we had a lot of discussion about the lesson learned. This ensures students feel comfortable writing the task.


During Guided Reading, we make lesson links.  On chain link strips, the students write their responses based on the prompts on the "Lesson Link" anchor chart (What happened, What was learned, How do you know).  We put them together to make an actual chain. This activity provides a tangible product that shows their learning. 

A tool we use to work on the RL.2 standard, is our Story Retell Bracelet and Bookmark(a FREEBIE in our store!).  We use these to retell the story during Guided Reading groups.  Each "bead" is for one part of the story (character, setting, etc).  The last 2 beads are for the Central Message (lesson) and Connections.  We feel the message and connections go hand in hand (at times).  When we use this tool, we find that we are able to hit the central message / lesson learned standard constantly through the year versus only during the specific times we are teaching RL.2.  They also have access to the Bracelet and Bookmark during Daily 5.  

Our favorite product for this standard are our RL 1.2 and RL 2.Print a Standard packs.  These packs each include over 10 activities to practice answering questions about the text, including the central message / lesson.  The RL 2.2 set includes fables (which can be very tricky!).  The activities can be done whole group, small group, or independently.  They are also great for assessments or homework.  With all of our Print a Standard packs, we use formats that are easy to use but are engaging to the students. 

As with any standard, good read aloud books are a MUST!  Here are a few of our RL.2 "Book Shelf" Recommendations:

Leo the Late Bloomer // 
Lion and the Mouse // The Rainbow Fish // 
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse // Spoon 

More Reader Ready Posts!

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