Gr 3 Content Area Nonfiction (Reading and Questioning to become an Expert)

(Draft as of Feb 26, 2010) Click here for full unit overview


How do living things use structures and characteristics to help them survive?
How do readers build expert understanding of a topic?
How do readers deepen their understanding through conversation and collaboration?


Students will begin to understand and appreciate that . . .

  • Each plant and animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.
  • Readers seek connections and disconnections between what they know and what they don’t know about a topic.
  • Readers use the pictures and words in a text to create a picture of what they are learning.
  • Readers hold onto key ideas from text to text and conversation to conversation, putting it all together to make sense of non-fiction reading.
  • Readers draw conclusions and arrive at original ideas or theories


Students will show independent ability to . . .

  • Envision: convert written information to a mental picture
  • Infer from text, visuals, and graphics to make sense of information
  • Activate prior knowledge and explain how it connects or disconnects to new learning
  • Synthesize their learning
  • Use text features to organize their thinking
  • Interpret visual information
  • Identify several main ideas with supporting evidence
  • Connect information in text and in images on the same page
  • Read to answer a specific question
  • Connect own learning to others’ learning
  • Track and share thinking
  • Question the text, themselves, and others to learn
  • Use evidence to support thinking
  • Use graphic organizer to organize learning
  • Compare and contrast information from different texts.


Students will know . . .

Animal vocabulary linked to structures, characteristics, habitats
text features
book club routines, expectations, graphic organizers,


  • Conferencing
  • Guided reading groups
  • Reading strategies rubric
  • Strategy groups
  • Final share about expert animal
  • Conferencing
  • Post-its, note taking