Lesson plan

Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Your students are probably used to answering questions. Give them a chance to ask their own with this imaginative lesson on reading comprehension and the ways one can use who, what, when, where, and why.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards

This reading and writing lesson plan introduces young learners to the Five W’s of fiction comprehension: who, what, when, where, why. Designed for first graders, this lesson helps children to understand that the key components of a question include an "asking" word and a question mark. After reading the interactive story The Lion and the Rat as a class, students will gain practice identifying question words and formulating their own questions to ask when they are reading fiction.

Students will be able to develop and express questions about a written text.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that today's lesson will involve asking questions about a story.
  • Let them know that you'll read a story, and that after you finish reading, you'll ask them two questions about what you've read. Once you're done, they'll become teachers and write their own questions.
  • Project and play The Lion and the Rat.
  • Ask no more than two questions about the story's elements (e.g. regarding author's purpose or point of view).
(10 minutes)
  • Show students how to formulate their own questions using the 5 W's: who, what, when, where, and why. For example, using Little Red Riding Hood, one can ask questions like: Why did Red Riding Hood visit Grandma? Who did she meet when she walked through the woods?
  • Tell the students that when sentences begin with asking words, they usually ask questions and end with question marks.
(10 minutes)
  • Repeat the two questions you modeled during Explicit Instruction.
  • Write the two questions on the board. Underline the word why in the first sentence. Circle the question mark.
  • Pull out an equity stick and ask the student to read the other sentence. Have him circle the who, what, when, where, or why, as you did for the first sentence.
  • Call on another student to identify the question mark and circle it.
(15 minutes)
  • Give a half-sheet of lined paper to each student.
  • Have students copy down both sentences from the board, including the markings that were made.
  • Circulate the room to make sure all students are on task.
  • Replay The Lion and the Rat. Tell students to each write one question they would like to ask on the lined paper.

Enrichment: Encourage the students to use other words that can begin an asking sentence (e.g. how, can, if, did, and will).

Support: Students who have difficulty writing a sentence can be placed in small groups. Work with them to collectively come up with a sentence.

(10 minutes)
  • Collect students' half-sheets. Assess their understanding based on whether their questions make sense, whether their asking words are identified, whether their question marks are identified, and whether their sentences are properly written.
(5 minutes)
  • Review the main aspects of a question (asking word, question mark) once again.

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