Categorizing Activity

Teacher models identifying key words in a nonfiction reading and sorting them into categories; students read another short passage and apply their categorization skills.

Anchor(s)

L5: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Level(s):

Estimated timeframe:

Activity steps

  1. Note: This activity uses passages from opens in a new window ReadWorks at the second and third grade reading levels. Depending on your class and students, you can select other reading passages to accommodate learners’ reading levels, make use of your existing textbooks or digital resources, or connect to a content area you are studying.
  2. Explain to students that you are going to focus on categorization. Categorizing information, or noting what things have in common, can be useful when reading, especially when reading nonfiction. Categorizing information can help you remember it and is an important part of summarization.
  3. Using a think aloud approach, read opens in a new window What Lives in a Rain Forest?: https://www.readworks.org/article/What-Lives-in-a-Rain-Forest/622d51fd-42b1-4b3b-8ac1-d187ff7920b6#!articleTab:content/.
    Model categorizing the animals, using a table like the one below:
    Animals in Tall Treetops Animals in Shorter Treetops Animals in Lower Branches Animals on Forest Floor
    birds, butterflies, bats monkeys, toucans snakes, tree frogs anteaters, gorillas, jaguars
  4. Have students work individually or in pairs/small groups to read another passage and categorize the information:
  5. Note that students may choose different categories (for example, organizing minerals by hardness or by function; having one or two categories for plants and animals that both live underwater). Have a brief discussion to debrief, touching on the value of categorizing and the pros/cons of different categorization choices.
  6. Extensions:
    • Discuss: What other words might fit in each category? If unsure, how would they find out? What words wouldn’t fit? Do the items in each category have more than one characteristic in common?
    • Have students summarize their reading passage. What important details need to be kept? What can be left out?
    • Have students think about categorizing information in a more complex (but level-appropriate) article, such as a news story or excerpt of fiction. What are the challenges? What do they learn?

Workforce readiness skills


opens in a new window External Resources
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Categorizing Activity
Teacher models identifying key words in a nonfiction reading and sorting them into categories; students read another short passage and apply their categorization skills. Read More Categorizing Activity
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