Text evidence writing is near and dear to my heart. It gives me a chance to tell my students not to dump and run.
“No evidence dumping!” I say. “Your answer does not belong in a commode! Present your evidence in a lovely little box, and proceed to tell your reader why they need this special gift.
I always start the year by teaching how to answer questions that require text evidence. I use the RACES technique, Restate, Answer, Cite evidence, Explain, Cite evidence, Explain and Sum it up. The RA part is easy, as long as students wisely use the language used in the question itself. I tell kids that the person who wrote the question chose the words to the question very carefully. They wrote and rewrote the question several times and they would LOVE students to use those very words- or synonyms for those words- in their topic sentence.
Then comes the evidence. Finding the evidence is not a problem for most students. But stating a wonderful text detail- without connecting it to the topic and answer- is like presenting someone with a beautiful gift that is located at the bottom of a toilet. And then proceeding to flush. It’s just plain useless.
I tell them that the evidence is so much prettier when it’s wrapped up in a nice package. And they should also pretend readers are not very bright. They know nothing about the text, except for what we tell them. So readers need an explanation as to why the “gift” is important to them. They need an explanation that connects the evidence to the topic sentence.
The kids love it. I’m sure they go home and tell their parents and friends that I tell them not to dump and run. That’s perfectly fine with me. At least they remember.
Try this freebie for some text evidence terminology: