Who doesn’t love task cards? For me, task cards are a must in my classroom. They are great for my small groups, guided reading groups, early finishers, etc. Gist task cards can help students reinforce the skill, and students can use them flexibly between transitions. You can also use these to create exit tickets.
Three Types of Gist Task Cards
1. Non-fiction Task Cards (16 Cards)
The first type of gist task card helps students practice finding the gist of non-fiction texts. There are 16 texts relating to different topics, such as festivals, cities, animals, etc.
Getting the gist of a non-fiction text is very different from a fiction text where identifying “who”, “did what”, and “why” is much easier. To find the gist of a non-fiction text, one effective way is to identify the text structure and use the topic sentence.
After reading the text, think about which sentences are details, which are examples, and which is the topic or concluding sentence. Next, combine the topic sentence and the concluding sentence. Then, rephrase it by adding transitional words and omitting repeated parts. Some texts may not have a concluding sentence. In that case, just focus on the topic sentence.
For example, in the gist task card No.1 (on the right), I annotated the text using three different colors. The green is for the reasons; the blue is for the examples, and the red is for the topic sentence. I don’t see a concluding sentence here.
After identifying the topic sentence, I can tell the gist of the text is “Pattaya is one of the most popular places for visitors to Thailand.” If you don’t want your students to copy the exact topic sentence, ask them to paraphrase it.
For supporting details, we can reread the green and blue parts to find them. For instance, one supporting detail is Pattaya provides many kinds of entertainment for people of different ages. Another supporting detail is Pattaya has miles of beaches, sea, and sunshine.
2. Fiction Task Cards(16 Cards)
So far, the most useful way I have ever used to get the gist of a fiction text is to find “who”, “did what”, and “why.” However, for more complex texts, we also need to pay attention to the change and the reason for the change in the story.
Let’s take a look at gist task card No. 22.
I used yellow for “who”, purple for “did what”, and pink for “why.” In this text, Sally hated snakes, but she changed her opinion about snakes because she learned some surprising facts about them.
Therefore, the gist of this text is “Sally used to hate snakes, but she changed her opinion after learning about them.” Since there is a change in the story, we can find one supporting detail to show “Sally before”, and another detail to show “Sally after”.
3. Picture Task Cards(16 Cards)
I also included 16 picture task cards, and there are many ways to use them, with different groups.
For your top group students, ask them to look at the picture carefully and give them the gist of the picture (find it on the last three pages and then cut it out). Next, ask them to write a short paragraph that will have the given gist.
For your middle group students, ask them to look at the picture carefully, and answer the question on the task card. For example, for the picture above, ask them “What is a possible gist of the picture below?” Answers may vary. One answer can be “Decorating snowmen gives winter so much fun.” This is a total open-ended question. Let students enjoy the brainstorm while practicing the gist reading skill.
For your bottom group students, cut out the gist statements on the last three pages of this product first. Next, spread all the picture gist task cards and gist statements on the table. Ask your students to match the cards to the statements. There are 16 picture cards in total. You may lower the difficulty level by asking them to match fewer sets.
Recording Sheets & Suggested Gist Statements/Answer Key
As mentioned above, there are 48 gist task cards (16 non-fiction, 16 fiction, 16 pictures). Besides, there are three recording sheets (one for each type) to go with the gist task cards and three pages of suggested gist statements (for the matching and writing activities). These gist statements can also be used as a suggested answer key.
As you can see above, you can print out the three types of matching cards on paper of different colors. For example, I used pink for non-fiction cards, green for fiction cards, and yellow for picture cards. Then you can laminate them to make them more durable.
After laminating the matching cards, you can cut out all the cards and put them in one box. I also laminated the gist task cards and stored them in one box. Therefore, I can quickly pull out this whole set when I am doing small groups or literacy centers.
If you are interested in these gist task cards, you may click here to purchase the differentiated gist task cards. Or you may follow the same idea and create your own to use with your students.
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