Utilizing Extended Response to
Enhance Comprehension and
Develop Expository Writing Skills
Tammy Hainsfurther
What is Extended Response?
• Extended Response is part of the Illinois
Standards Achievement Test in which students
are asked to read a passage and respond in
writing to demonstrate an accurate
understanding of the text by responding to
main ideas stated explicitly or implicitly, and
other important information. Readers are
asked to support their answers by providing
information, examples and details from the
text, and making connections.
Connections that improve reading
• Connections can be:
• Text to self-What do I think about this or what
connections can I make with what I already
• Text to text-This character, setting, plot or
theme reminds me of another story I read……
• Text to world-How does the main idea relate
to other people, subjects, concepts or events?
What is expository writing?
Expository writing gives information, explains,
defines, or describes.
Examples of expository text include:
magazine or newspaper articles
Why ask students to write an
extended response?
• “True comprehension goes beyond literal
understanding and involves the reader’s
interaction with text. If students are to
become thoughtful, insightful readers, they
must extend their thinking beyond a
superficial understanding of the text.”
• Harvey & Goudvis, 2000
ISAT Extended Response Reading
Grades 3 and 4
How can I integrate the ISAT (Illinois Standards
Achievement Test) Reading Extended
Response with my novel teaching to improve
student comprehension, extent thinking, and
develop expository writing while preparing
for the ISAT exam?
Sample Novel: Hatchet By Gary
Motivational Video on Gary Paulsen
Lesson Plan
• Extended Response will be introduced to the
whole group and modeled on the overhead
with a transparency of the Baseball Answer
Graphic Organizer using student ideas, and
then reinforced and practiced in small
Literature Circles during the reading of
Hatchet. Students will write on dated copies
of the baseball graphic organizer and these
will be kept in the student writing folder for
comparison at later dates.
Hatchet Questions
• Following Chapter 11 please answer the
following question in writing using the
Baseball Graphic Organizer.
• How does Brian see and hear differently from
when he first crashed? Use information from
the novel and your own ideas and conclusions
to support your answer.
Additional Questions
• After reading Chapter 12 please respond to
the following:
• What does Brian mean when he says
“Discoveries happened because they need to
happen?” Use information from the novel and
your own ideas and conclusions to support
your answer.
• After reading Chapter 16 please respond to
the following:
• How does Brian react to being attacked and
nearly killed at the lake, and then having
everything destroyed by a tornado? Use
information from the chapter and your own
ideas and conclusions to support your answer.
• After reading Chapter 18 please respond in
writing to the following:
• Explain what Brian means when he says that
the loss of the hatchet means that he has
nothing. Use information from the novel and
your own ideas and conclusion to support
your answer.
Concluding Prompt
• Explain how Brian has changed both mentally
and physically from when the plane crashed to
the end of the novel. Use information from
the story and your own ideas and conclusions
to support your answer.
• Responses will be assessed on content only
• Developmental expository writing does not happen overnight, but rather
with practice over time.
• Diagnostic assessment will take place as the student begins to write. Has
comprehension taken place? Is the student on task, engaged, thinking,
and responding in writing?
• Formative assessment takes place as the student writes, not just on one
occasion, but over time. Is there improvement? Is information from the
text used to support the answer? Are connections being made?
• Summative assessment will take into consideration progress over time
when conferencing with the student and comparing expository writing
samples with those completed earlier in the year. Are we where we want
to be in November, then January, and finally in February for the ISAT’s in
State Goals for including Extended
Response Questions for Hatchet
• 1.4.15 Demonstrate understanding by using
graphic organizers to represent passage content
• 1.4.17 Determine the answer to a literal or simple
inference question regarding the meaning of a
• 1.4.19 Identify the main idea of a selection when
it is not explicitly stated
• 1.4.22 Draw inferences, conclusions, or
generalizations about text, and support them
with textual evidence and prior knowledge
State Goals for including Extended
Response Questions for Hatchet
• 2.4.03 Identify events important to the
development of the plot and subplot
• 2.4.06 Compare stories to personal
experience, prior knowledge, or other stories
• 2.4.08 Determine what characters are like by
what they say or do by how the author
portrays them
• 2.4.09 Determine character motivation
• My goal is to use expository writing during novel reading to
enhance comprehension, extend students’ thinking about what
they have read, and prepare for the ISAT exam. To teach students to
respond in writing to what they have comprehended during reading
takes considerable time and effort on the students’ and teacher’s
part. Practice needs to start early in the school year. Teachers must
communicate what is expected and guide students toward this goal
by reading what the student has written and communicating back
to the student through written responses and conferences.
Expository writing must be practiced on an ongoing basis. My plan
is to include three to four extended response, or open ended
questions with each novel. Examples have been given for Hatchet.
Perhaps one of the most difficult parts is thinking up the questions!
The time and effort involved in this project is well worth the reward
of developing students who can and do read, write, listen, speak,
and think.
• Harvey, S. & Goudvis, A. (2000). Strategies
that work: Teaching comprehension to
enhance understanding. Portland, ME:

Utilizing Extended Response to Enhance