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Author Says, I Say, So


This activity provides a highly structured way for students to identify, organize, and process their reactions to a text. It facilitates students’ ability to react meaningfully to a text, and then to draw logical conclusions based both on their opinions and on the information in the text.

Learning Strategies 

  • Connecting
Metacognition, Interacting with the Text, Point of View, Inner Voice

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Reflection

Content Areas 

  • ELA
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Learning Strands 

  • Reading

Common Core Instructional Shifts 

  • Balancing Informative and Literary Texts
  • Building Knowledge in the Discipline
  • Staircase of Complexity
  • Text-Based Answers


Identify a text. Create a graphic organizer with three columns: Author Says, I Say, So.

Activity Steps 
  1. Distribute text and graphic organizer to all students.

    You can initially model this activity, as you would with any new or complex task. Think aloud about a text as you read, and complete a chart for or with the students. Consider generating or providing a list of the types of reactions that a person may have to information or statements in a text, perhaps in the form of sentence stems.

  2. In small groups or individually, students read the text. As they read, they complete the first column with ideas and statements in the text that are notable to them.

    You will likely need to model this process to students. Read aloud from a text, highlighting or starring notable lines and making exclamations such as, “Well THAT’S really surprising!” or “I’m not sure I agree with that,” or “That is perfectly said!” Consider providing students with a list of the types of lines in a text that might somehow be notable to a reader. (The book Notice and Note by Beers and Probst might be helpful here.)

  3. As they read, students complete the second column with their own ideas or reactions to the content in the first column.

    Model this process to the students, referring to each of the lines you highlighted, and providing a range of different reactions to the lines, including connections, emotional reactions, disagreement, agreement, and appreciation. Consider providing students with a menu of the types of reactions a person may have, perhaps in the form of sentence stems.

  4. As they read or after they read, students complete the third column with a synthesized conclusion drawn from the first two columns together.

    Many students will need additional practice with this element of the activity, since it requires them to be able to synthesize information, to evaluate it, and to draw conclusions. They may need additional focused practice in these component skills, and will also need to observe teacher modeling.

Downloadable Resources 
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