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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Answering Literature Questions.....

I have been working on getting both of my children to learn
how to get their thoughts across when answering essay questions
or questions pertaining to their literature assignments.
Much of the time I have been getting very vague answers.
Such as He is nice or they played or even one word ... round.

Probably because writing for both of them is very difficult.
It is difficult for Princess because of her dyslexia. It is hard
for her to transcribe her thoughts to the paper. She can
tell you the answer but writing it down can be a
challenge. Sometimes it comes out sort of jumbled. Superboy has
trouble because he plain isn't a fan of writing. His writing
skills are very crude for a 4th grader. All year I have been working
on his reading level and have that about up to his grade
but in working so hard on that I seemed to have neglected
his writing skills. There is no time like the present to get started.

Each of my children has a spiral notebook called their reading
notebook. There are times they are allowed to write a
sentence or two pertaining to a story they have read with
a picture to go with it and then there are other times
that I require them to write out answers to questions about
the story. I do not accept... He is nice at 4th and 7th grade.
I am not trying squash creativity only to help get their thoughts
out onto paper in an orderly manor. In a way that both of them
can handle. They need clear concise rules and this state.

Here is a basic example from a story most of you probably
have heard before.

What was the animal that Noah sent out to see if there
was land?

Sentence structure for both children isn't very clear. I would
not allow just Dove as the answer even though this is
the answer . I typically do a few of the questions with the
child to make sure they remember what I require.
I want them to write in complete sentences to work on their
structure. Then I ask them.....

1. What is the question asking?

If the question is long as most of Princess' are more
elaborate and thought provoking. There are times she
reads to quickly and doesn't really understand what is
being asked. So taking a time to pause and really think
about what the question is asking ensures that you correctly
answer the question. To help with this I have them do
the next step which is.....

2. Restate the question.

This is a hard one for Superboy only because he just
wants to get it done. He doesn't want to take the time
to write out his answer in this way but I insist that he
does at this point until his sentence structure improves.
Most times he only has a subject or only a predicate. There
are times I would need to assist. We often do these while
I type them onto the PC and he verbally tells me what to
type. Later these sentences are used as copy work.

Hopefully both children would come up with....

Noah sent out a______ to see if there was land.

If they can not think of the restating part I often assist
allowing them to fill in the blank.

3. Answer the question.

Now it is time to answer the question. Fill in the blank.

Noah sent out a Dove to see if there was dry land.

4. Look back

Last reread the question and make sure you have
answered all that the question is asking. This works
Great for Princess who often forgets what a large, multi
question might be asking. She may need to go back
and add to it or add another sentence restating and

5. Check.

Check spelling, punctuation and capital letters.

Look back

This is done for the matter of fact type questions. This
is not done for creativity or during the times I ask for their
opinion. This is done solely to enhance their writing skills
and transcribe in complete sentences using their full thought.


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