The Essential Question: Deep Thinking and Text-to-Text Connections

Each issue of Storyworks 2 asks an essential question. Several of the stories in the issue relate to this question. Reading, discussing, and making text-to-text connections among these stories gives kids deep insight into the essential question, and really allows kids to build knowledge by synthesizing information.

Essential questions for Storyworks 2 cover social-emotional learning topics, as well as big questions in social studies, science, and English Language Arts. Essential questions have included: What makes a good friend? What is a mystery? Does technology make our lives better? What makes a good community? What is a hero?

Where can I find the essential question?

  • Just look on the Table of Contents of page 2 of your Storyworks 2. You will see the essential question of the issue. The stories that connect to it are highlighted.
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The Essential Question and Vocabulary

  • Storyworks 2 showcases content vocabulary words for each issue that relate to the essential question. These words are repeated in various articles throughout the issue to give kids more exposure to new words and reinforce their meanings.
  • Look in the lesson plan for each article to see the vocabulary words. They are also bolded in the article.

The Big Question Videos

  • Each issue of Storyworks 2 comes with a video that introduces the essential question. Videos in this series, called The Big Question, pose the question of the issue in an age-appropriate way, as well as offer kids ways to start thinking and talking about it.
  • Teachers can watch The Big Question video of the month before reading the connected stories as a way to introduce the lesson. They can also watch this video after reading one of the stories, as a way to inspire a rich discussion. 

Essential Question Skills Sheets

  • Storyworks 2 always offers skills sheets that allow kids to compare the various texts in the issue that connect to the essential question. We’re helping kids make those valuable text-to-text connections and build their knowledge.
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Lesson Plans

  • How can you teach the essential question? Every article that addresses the question has a step-by-step lesson plan. You can of course teach each article as a stand alone. But if you want to connect it to other articles in the magazine, just follow our easy lesson plan for ideas on how to do it!