Are you always trying to encourage students to actually use text evidence? Does it become exhausting going over the importance of doing so every day only for students not to do it? Honestly, these are concerns that all teachers have! While teachers understand the importance of text evidence, students do not always see the need. Luckily, there are tips and tricks to get students actually to use text evidence!
#1: Create the Question
Many times, students do not see the connection between questions being asked and using text evidence to answer. So, teachers need to adjust their planning to reflect the needs of students. To do this, we will actually reverse the question-and-answer format. Instead of giving students a question to answer, we will start with the answer and create a question! This will greatly help students see the relationship between questions and text evidence!
For more incredible teaching techniques, check out Text Evidence Lessons. There are many engaging ways to help students understand what it means when you tell them to use text evidence.
#2: Match the Word
Students struggle to follow complex directions! They get confused just reading what to do and want to give up. Luckily, Match the Word is so simple! I tell students to pick out the most important word in the question. It is helpful to remind them to steer clear of repetitive words, such as names. Since those words are all over, they can’t be the most important word! Students will circle the word and then find the word in the text. Since this word may be in the text a few times, students need to decide if each time is important or if one stands out more. This is a concrete way to ensure students know what to go back and look for.
For the perfect way to squeeze in daily practice of finding text evidence, try out these Close Reading Passages. The bundle contains engaging and interesting passages to ensure students become confident in applying text evidence to their answers.
#3: Pre-Underline Text Evidence
Teachers will become blue in the face explaining the importance of text evidence without it sinking into students. This is often because students do not know how to use text evidence to help improve their comprehension. So, you must show them what text evidence looks like and how to use it.
A great way to do this involves highlighting the text you feel will be necessary to answer questions before making copies. It is helpful to have at least five questions. Students will then go and read the passage with the underlined sentences. After reading the passage, they will go back and work on the questions. They will start to answer the question and then go back and read the underlined sentences to see which one provides support.
Now, are you thinking this strategy basically gives them the answer? I can see where the question comes from, but this is not the case. While I am narrowing down the evidence and guiding them on where to look, they still have to analyze all of the sentences! Then, they have to find out which sentence best supports the question. Students are processing evidence and seeing the importance of using the text to answer questions. As a challenge, underline an extra piece of evidence that students will not use to answer questions! Students can even write a question where this extra piece could be the text evidence.
As they gain confidence, reverse this format! Instead of the teacher highlighting evidence before making copies, students receive a copy with no underlining. Then, they read the text and highlight what they feel is important. After this, they create their own questions where their highlighted sentences would be the answers. Students can even write out their questions and answers to practice writing responses.
#4: Two Word Summary
This is such a fun strategy! Students will receive a multi-paragraph text. Then, they will summarize what each paragraph was about to the left or right of the page. However, the summary can only be two words! Now, this will clearly not be a complete summary since there can’t be many words, but students will work hard to pick out two words. After doing this for each paragraph, students will use these summaries when answering questions. If one of the summaries has the word backpack and a question has this word, students know where to look! This strategy is a great way to help students know exactly where to look to bring in text evidence.