Using Text Evidence Can be Tricky
Finding and using textual evidence to support ideas is challenging for students; however, it is an essential skill for academic success. As a graduate student and teacher, I am constantly defending my ideas with evidence. It is a skill that will be carried throughout a lifetime, and is emphasized in all of my lessons.
Choosing a solid piece of evidence or creating a clear interpretation of a text can be overwhelming for students, but I have some tips and strategies that can help.
Expert-Tested Strategies for Text Evidence
1. Choose texts that inspire debate.
- Stories that are driven by character actions and motivation are the ones that inspire discussion. Texts that inspire questions encourage children to return to the text and find support for their answers. Look for stories that naturally raise questions about why characters do what they do.
2. Get evidence from the get-go
- Require your child to have evidence ready at the start of the discussion. Let them know ahead of time that they are going to have to “prove it”.
3. Invite multiple perspectives.
- Discuss with your child that it is normal for people to have different interpretations of a text as long as they back it up with evidence!
4. Use sentence starters strategically.
- Forming a statement with textual evidence can be tricky. In our class the students use sentence starters to identify their evidence (e.g., “In the text … the author mentions …”). This helps them make the bridge from evidence to interpretation.