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Delivering Explicit & Engaging Comprehension Mini-Lessons


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Make text-to-text connections

List comparable information about the two texts.

Compare authors’ perspectives

Make connections between cultural versions of a story or fairy tale.

Analyze multiple accounts of the same nonfiction topic/event.

Compare texts from different media

Make text-to-text connections between different formats of the same story.


Recognize a synthesis when it hits

Guide students to achieve a synthesis

After reading a powerful portion of a text (or the whole text), guide students to “bring it all together” and make a synthesis.

Follow the recipe to “Make a Synthesis.”

Ask relevant questions about each “spoon” category to encourage students to add to their thinking.

Plan additional questions using these “recipe card” templates.

Synthesis Spoons
Blue | Green | PurpleOrange | Red | Yellow

Synthesis Spoons
Blue | Green | PurpleOrange | Red | Yellow

Combine details to synthesize new ideas

Synthesize from Multiple Sources Mini-Lesson
PDF | Smartboard

Generate a synthesis

Differentiate between the Reading Voice (SAY), the various thoughts of the Thinking Voice (MEAN), and the bigger syntheses of the reader (MATTER).

Identify new-to-you discoveries

A synthesis requires students to combine multiple thoughts together to determine the significance—why it all matters.

Think time is represented with the oven baking time.

The realization they make is the raw synthesis—the undecorated cake.


Form a new thought:
In Tangled, Rapunzel realizes that she is the Lost Princess.

Deepen an initial thought:
In How to Train Your Dragon 2, Hiccup really sees the potential of training dragons.

Change a previous thought:
The reader adjusts his initial judgment as new information is revealed in the present.

Change a previous thought:
Jonathan & Charlotte’s audition

Change a previous thought:
Susan Boyle’s audition

Trace evolving thinking

Show students how to record individual thoughts to generate a new bigger aha.

Watch Kristina model an after-reading synthesis using “The New Kid,” a passage from Read and Succeed: Level 1.

K-2 Version: PDF | Smartboard | Promethean
3-12 version: PDF | SmartBoard | Promethean

Present a synthesis in writing

To the synthesis statement (the cake), the reader adds icing/frosting (textual support). The synthesis must be “covered” in evidence.