Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Inventor's Secret Teach-a-long: Close Reading a Picture Book

It's time to read the book, The Inventor's Secret! In the previous lesson, students acquired background knowledge about Edison's inventions and Ford's innovations through inquiry. Today, you will read aloud the story, using close reading questions that guide students in thinking about the key ideas and details and to clarify confusions about what the text says literally. After reading and discussing the text through these questions, students should be able to summarize the text, using vocabulary from the story.


Note:  This lesson is part of our product The Inventor's Secret:  The Study of Two Inventors Who Changed the World.


  1. Print out the three pages of close reading questions (06InventorsStickyNotes.pdf) and the sticky note printing template (07StickyNotePrintingTemplate.pdf) 
  2. Place Post-it® notes on the printing template. Be sure to line them up with the outline of the squares on the template. Make sure they are lying flat to the page.
  3. Place the printing template with the Post-it® notes attached into a printer or copy machine, front side down, so that the Post-it® notes are facing down in the printer or copy machine. If using a copy machine, use the Stack Bypass setting.
  4. Copy or print the questions onto the Post-it® notes.
  5. Place the printed Post-it notes into the book at the page numbers where you will be asking the questions.
  6. Have the photographs of Henry Ford's car models, used in the last lesson. Place them in the order in which they were created, starting with the Quadricycle and ending with the Model T.

The Lesson

To introduce the story, I gathered my students on the rug and explained that today we would be reading the book, paying close attention to what the story is about. I showed them the summary worksheet that they would be completing after the read aloud, and explained that I'd be asking questions that would help them understand the details of the story.

As I read the book to my students, I pulled off each sticky note and placed it on the back cover, before showing the illustrations. I did not use every single question. I knew my goal was for students to understand the main idea and theme of this story, so as I went along I monitored their understanding by their responses.

When we read about Henry Ford's car models, starting with the Quadricycle and ending with the Model T, I posted up the photographs of his real cars onto a chart.
Image result for the inventor's secret thomas

 After we read the story, the students completed the summary. We corrected it together.

The students loved that Thomas and Henry were curious as kids and that their curiosity got them in trouble...a lot! By the time we got to the secret that Thomas shared, keep at it!, they really understood the message. So much that for the rest of the day, my students and I used the phrase "Keep at it!" when experiencing challenging tasks.

Post-it® Note Question Printing Template:  Make your own questions to print onto Post-it®Notes!

We realize that not everyone wishes to purchase the complete Inventor's Secret unit. So we have put together a product at our Teachers Pay Teachers store.  the Post-it® Note Question Printing Template. It includes a template for creating and printing custom questions onto Post-it® notes,  the questions for Inventor's Secret, ready to print, and the Inventor's Secret summary worksheet.

Join the Teach-a-long for the unit:  

Next Post: The Mint Car Challenge

No comments:

Post a Comment