Teach text evidence with this step by step guide from Rockin Resources, available on Teachers Pay Teachers

This post originally appeared on the blog Rockin Resources.

Are your students having trouble finding answers and citing evidence in their reading? This STEP-BY-STEP process scaffolds through reading strategies to help your students be successful! Students will learn the acronyms for ACE and RAP to provide them with the proper tools for citing evidence effectively along with tips to keep them engaged!

For the following lessons, each student will need a reading passage they can highlight, a pencil, a notebook for taking notes, a variety of colorful highlighters, and magnifying glasses (optional). Follow these steps in this suggested order:

1.  Explain the meaning of text evidence.

Text is written work.

Evidence is proof.

Text + Evidence is citing proof in the reading.


2.  Read through the text thoroughly.  

It is helpful to read through the text independently and then together. That way, struggling readers will be able to hear words that they may not have understood or read correctly.




How to Provide Text Evidence poster: after reading the text, 1) answer the question using prior knowledge and inferences, 2) cite evidence in the text to support your thoughts or opinions, 3) explain your answer with evidence by paraphrasing or directly quoting.

Provide an anchor chart for your visual learners. Display it so the whole class can see. Discuss each letter and tell your students that they will be using this acronym when they become ACE Detectives. This will get them excited to learn about ACE!

A-  Answer the question using prior knowledge and inferences.

Restate the question in your answer.

Example: Why did Paul Revere ride through the towns?

Answer: Paul Revere rode through the towns because….

Teachers: Practice restating the question with students. Provide questions and restate them together.

Prior Knowledge: When a reader has previous experience or has already read about a particular topic, he will have some insight or knowledge to the topic before reading it. Having prior knowledge on a topic will help the reader comprehend it better than someone with no prior knowledge. It is almost like having the upper hand if someone is already familiar with a topic. It provides extra support to the reader’s thinking process.

Inferring: It is an educated guess or reading facts and evidence to reach a logical conclusion or opinion. Making inferences while reading is a strategy that will help you understand the text at a deeper level. It is best to draw a conclusion or form an opinion by finding two or more supporting details in the reading passage. It also helps to look for words or phrases that may express a positive or negative tone. Learn how to infer HERE.

C- Cite evidence in the text to support your thoughts or opinions.

When answering questions about a reading assignment, look back at the text and find proof for the answers within the text. Highlighting the text is an effective approach to mark the evidence! Do you want your students engaged in this activity? Provide magnifying glasses. The cheap plastic ones are all you need! Students will get excited to dig deeper in the text to search for the evidence!

Young student using a magnifying glass to read a book, next to a stack of books

Do you want to motivate them even more? Have students colorcode the answers. A little bit of color and they are more interested in their work! On the example, you will see numbers. Numbering the highlighted area is useful especially if you plan to discuss or review their highlighted work.

Using color coded highlighters can help students better understand how to identify evidence in text passages, and be more engaged while they work.

E-  Explain your answer with evidence by paraphrasing or directly quoting.

Paraphrasing: The author explains…  The text shows…  Use RAP:  Read, Ask yourself questions, Put the information in your own words.

In order to teach text evidence, students must learn to explain texts through paraphrasing. Paraphrasing helps them translate information into their own words, and makes it likelier that students will understand and remember what they've read.

Quoting:  The author says, “…”    The text states, “…..”  Quoting is copying exactly what the author is saying in your answer. Make sure to use quotation marks!

4. Take Notes

Students should take notes on all of the acronyms. It is a valuable tool for them to use with future assignments. Interactive writing notebooks are a great way to get students motivated, but if you don’t have the materials or time is a factor, I have two suggestions. Students can take traditional notes from the anchor charts, or you can make mini anchor charts for students to paste into their notebooks.

These mini-anchor charts for teaching the ACE text evidence method is a simple and relatively low-effort hand out that teachers can give to their students so they better understand the ACE acronym Beneath each letter of the ACE acronym is a definition of the acronym's letter (answer the question, cite evidence, explain the answer with evidence)

5. Practice

Once students have a firm understanding of ACE, give them an ACE chart for practice as a whole group, small group, or partners. Review the correct answers together.


To practice the ACE method for text evidence, you can pair a reading passage with a worksheet and ask students to complete ACE for each reading passage.
6.  Apply

Students now have the strategies to use when providing text evidence from their reading. They should be able to apply this knowledge when answering questions!

Once you've taught your students how to cite text evidence using ACE, you can reinforce their practice in future reading assignments and when they answer questions in class.


I hope you found these TEXT EVIDENCE strategies useful and your students become ACE detectives with a deeper understanding of the text!  

Another related post you might want to check out: STRATEGIES TO TEACH TEXT DEPENDENT ANALYSIS

If you find these lessons valuable, learn more about the full TEXT EVIDENCE UNIT prepped and ready for you. It includes lessons, anchor charts, examples, interactive notebook pages, practice sheets, differentiated passages, task cards, ACE charts, and assessment! It also includes a student version for tablets!

This is Rockin Resource's full text evidence unit materials, which you can download through TpT.

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Photo of Pam Olivieri, Rockin Resources on Teachers Pay TeachersPam Olivieri is a full-time curriculum designer on Teachers Pay Teachers, a writing coach, and the author of the blog Rockin Resources. While in the classroom for 26 years, she earned a Masters Degree and National Board Certification. Visit her store to see a variety of resources that instill her motto:  MOTIVATE-EDUCATE-DIFFERENTIATE.  She loves to chat, collaborate, and share ideas with other teachers. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter