Forty Best-practices Instructional Activities

Three-Column Recall Chart
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40 Best-practices
Instructional Activities

Background: The three-column recall chart is an instructional tool that encourages students to revisit a reading selection to recall details. This chart helps students develop notetaking skills. Using this strategy, students record details without copying straight from a text.

Procedures: Read, Recall, Reread, Recall, Reread, Recall: Have students draw lines on a notebook page to create a three-column chart. Ask them to label each column: First Reading Details, Second Reading Details, and Third Reading Details. Encourage students to apply preview strategies prior to reading the text. Have students read the selection. After this first run through, ask students to recall ideas from the text. Give them a limited amount of time to jot their ideas down in the first column of the chart. Have students share some of the key ideas that were collected. Invite students to read the article again, paying attention to details they can add to the chart in column two. Repeat this process for a third reading and recall-writing. Each column should contain different ideas and be written in the students’ own words. Ask students to share how rereading the informational text helped them collect many ideas. Review how readers set a purpose for reading to help them understand an author’s ideas.

Example: After reading a selection about endangered species, students collect two or three reasons why animals are at risk. After reading the selection again, students collect more reasons and support details. After a third reading, students check for any key ideas or support details not yet collected and recorded on their Recall Charts.

Variations: To help students focus on specific details, set a different purpose for each reading. Example: For the first reading, ask students to find three reasons why whooping cranes are listed as endangered. For a second reading, ask students to find ways wildlife researchers are trying to ensure that whooping cranes do not become extinct. For a third reading, ask students to collect facts about how the general public can help save whooping cranes.

Reading Strategies: Set a Purpose for Reading, Identify Main Ideas and Supporting Details, Recall / Retell Information from Text, Paraphrase an Author’s Ideas, Summarize Information, Synthesize Ideas