Lesson 3: Claims and 2+1 Details

Some Tricks to Make Things Easier

Here are some things that both you as a writer and your students can use to make the writing process easier.

Restate the Question

This is a simple tactic that many teachers have their students do when responding to text. Understand the restating the question is not a specific pat of the rubric. This tactic is used as a sentence starter for students who might be having trouble formulating the beginning of the correct response. A simple way to demonstrate this for students is to cross of any question related words. After that just read through the sentence and make sure it makes sense still. Minor tweaks to the structure of sentence may be necessary, but not always.

Restating the Question Example: Question: How did the author demonstrate the theme of the story? Restate: "The author demonstrated the theme of the story by..."

Use Your Brain to Make the Claim!


This is a simple semi-rhyme that students can use as a simple reminder when trying to write a claim or valid inference. Students need to always keep in mind that they need some original thought in order to score full credit. Claims come from the students own head and the details come directly from the text. "Use your brain to make the claim", helps students gauge whether or not they are actually drawing a conclusion about the reading.

2 + 1 Details

When using details to support your claims, students often make mistakes. Remember from lesson two, that a valid claim with only one correct supporting detail can only be scored a 2. The simplicity of the 2-point rubric does provide an opportunity for students to take advantage of a small loophole in the grading process. The rubric asks for 2 correct details that supports the claim. Students have been known to ramble on and on about a topic, and if at some point two of their details aligns with their claim than the response can be scored a 2, regardless of some of the incoherence of the response.

If the writer responds with 3 details instead of the required 2 details, they basically have written down a "backup detail". If one of their details does not effectively support their thinking, they can still score a 2 if their "backup detail" does. This is a simple way to build students confidence when responding. It engages them deeper in the text and most likely they will get at least two of their responses right.

Eliminate all Zeros

As you have engaged with this process, undoubtedly you have probably noticed that scoring a zero is relatively difficult. it should be understood and expected that a score of zero is unacceptable. Any student with even partial comprehension of the text should be able to provide at a minimum a detail that can be counted towards partial credit, which would in turn receive a score of 1. This should be a confidence builder for students that they can always get a 1, no matter how challenging they find a passage.

You Try It

Read the story "Set Sail" http://www.readworks.org/get/272185

Now try using the tips you learned in this lesson to answer the question on the following Google Form:


Let's move on:

Go to Lesson 4: Help Your Class Do It

Go to Written Response to Text