One thing I know for sure, I didn't learn to determine the central message of a story.
I'll be honest, I don't remember explicitly learning this EVER!
But that doesn't mean it can't happen!
As a matter of fact, it can and it has become my favorite part of reading a story with my students.
I love asking my students about the central message of a story. It is so impressive to hear their responses. I have one student that somehow finds a way to make patience the central message of every story. It's like the central message of her life. She even writes about it. It's pretty cute. Is she trying to tell me something?
So how do I teach it? Let me show you :)
This isn't the full standard. This is just a piece, and I break this into even smaller pieces. At this point in the year, the kids can manage the standard, but when we began, we took it a little at a time.
Now for the fun part! Yes, I said fun part.
I have these posters posted in my classroom. I think they're the most referred to posters in the classroom. This makes me a happy teacher!
So after reading a story, we discuss the characters, setting, and plot. Then I ask, "What did the author want you to learn from this story? What is the central message?"
The kids look at the posters. They think. They come up with a reason. They discuss it with a buddy. Then, I call on students to share.
I love asking this question after I read a story. I think this may be one of the most valuable questions to ask students.
This week, we used Farfallina and Marcel, a story about a caterpillar and a gosling that become friends. The central message is pretty clear, but not everybody chose friendship. One students chose kindness. One student chose perseverance. They had to show evidence, so it was all acceptable.