The RACE strategy can help mid to upper grade elementary students write thorough and meaningful responses when answering questions about a text. In other words, writing about what they comprehended about what they just read. Often, kids will read to get it done but when you ask questions about it…. they do not recall what happened.
Including this skill in a lesson came up last week when I was brainstorming strategies with a student teacher. After considering numerous ideas we chose the RACE strategy to help students scaffold their written responses with evidence from the text. The RACE (Restate, Answer, Cite, Explain) strategy helps students to break their responses into 4 parts.
- Restate the question – Ask students to restate the question in their own words. Often by removing the “Ask” word (who, what, where etc.) the restated question becomes the topic sentence.
- Answer the question -Just the answer PLEASE. Sometimes there may even be more than 1 questions but details or opinions are not needed.
- Cite text evidence – Students need to find evidence in the text to support the answer. Teaching kids sentence starters like the author states, or the text says reminds kids that they are looking for evidence. Teach them to think like a detective!
- Explain and Extend – Finally, they get to make the connections between what they answered, and the evidence found. Teaching kids to start their “E – Explain and Extend with a sentence starter such as “In conclusion” is a great way for students to conclude their paragraph.
The RACE acronym helps students remember which steps and in which order to write a constructed response. The RACE strategy is easy to teach and easy for kids to remember.
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