Lesson plan

State Your Claim

Help your students explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text by giving them high-interest nonfiction texts to read.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

Which set of standards are you looking for?

  • Students will be able to explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
  • Students will be able to identify which reasons and evidence support which point.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that today they will be reading informational texts and making inferences about the author’s message. We will be thinking about the claim that the author is making and explaining how the author supports it with reasons and evidence.
  • Ask students to think about what a “claim” might be.
  • Have students talk to a learning partner about their definition of claim.
  • Call on students to share what they think claim means.
  • Tell students that when an author makes a claim, he or she is saying that something is true.
  • As we read, we have to think about the information the author is giving us. In nonfiction, a good author will make a claim and then support the claim with reasons and evidence to make us believe what he or she is saying.
  • We have to ask:

What is the author’s message?

What does the author want me to believe after reading this passage?

Why did the author write this?

What claim is the author making?

  • As we consider the author’s claim, or argument, we weigh the evidence that he or she is using to support it. This is just like looking for the main idea and supporting details.
(10 minutes)
  • Pick four students at random to hold a Comprehension Card. They will hold onto this card until you have finished reading the informational text aloud.
  • Display the Should I Recycle This? worksheet.
  • Close read the article aloud to students, stopping to think aloud about the text as you go.
  • Have the four students holding the Comprehension Cards stand up one at a time and read the question that is on the card.
  • Answer the question for the students by going back into the text to highlight or underline an area of the text that helped you.
  • Explain to students that the questions are all asking you to find the same information, but the question is asked in different ways.
(15 minutes)
  • Separate the class into four groups.
  • Give each group one Comprehension Card, a sheet of chart paper, and a marker.
  • Hand out the Video Games worksheet to each student.
  • Have students silently read the article, circling any difficult or unfamiliar words they find. For below-level readers, read aloud in a small group.
  • Gather the class together when students have finished reading, and go over any words students want to discuss.
  • Choral read the article together in groups by splitting the class in half. Have one half chorally read the first part of the text, while the second half chorally reads the rest of the text.
  • Instruct students to work together in their groups to answer the question written on the Comprehension Card. They will write their answers on the chart paper by creating a web graphic organizer. The answer to the Comprehension Card will go in the center of the web. Students will write the reasons and/or evidence to support the claims in bubbles around the outside. If chart paper is unavailable, students can write on construction paper or plain copy paper.
  • If groups finish early, give them the challenge question: What reasons and/or evidence could you add to the text to support this point? Students will discuss in their group.
  • When all groups have completed the initial assignment, have each group present their answers to the rest of the class.
  • Allow students to give feedback to each other throughout this process.
(15 minutes)
  • Give each student a copy of The Reality of Zoos worksheet.
  • Have students complete the worksheet to determine the author’s point and reasons/evidence that support the claim.


  • Have students use colored highlighters to highlight the author’s point in the text and the reasons/evidence that support it.


  • Have advanced students write a paragraph where they make a claim. They must include four pieces of evidence that support the claim.
(5 minutes)
  • Review student worksheets to assess their ability to identify the author’s claim and supporting evidence.
(10 minutes)
  • Put students in groups of four to share answers. One student will be the claim and the others are the supporting reasons. The claim student stands in the middle and the supporting reasons students stand around him/her and point to the claim person. Monitor group conversations and select one group to “perform” for the class. Have the center person, the claim, speak first. Then, have the other students in the group speak about the supporting evidence/reasons.
  • Create a graphic organizer or outline on the document camera as a class with the author’s claim and three reasons/evidence that support the claim.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items