Analyzing the Text
General Activity
Grades 6–12
History, Language Arts
Small Group, Large Group, Pre-reading


Students will work collaboratively to better understand the text.


The Jigsaw method is a way to help students understand and retain more information by working collaboratively with classmates. Students are broken up into small groups, each of which is assigned a passage from the text. Each group then works together to become the class experts on their section of the reading. Each group then reports out to the class, teaching their classmates about their particular section of reading. This method works well with challenging material, or material dense with new facts and information.

Materials Needed/Preparation

  • Choose a document, section of a text book, or passage from a novel. Have copies on hand.
  • Create a list of the important information and takeaways students should gain.
  • Create a list of guiding questions.
  • As an alternative, consider creating a chart for groups to complete.

Estimated Time

1-2 class periods (depending on the difficulty of the document/text)


  • Assign small groups.
  • Distribute materials to be read and analyzed.
  • Assign each group a particular part or parts of the reading.
  • Post the guiding questions (or distribute them as a handout). Review the questions, ensuring that students understand.
  • Allow time for silent reading of the assigned passages. (Students only need to read their section at this point.)
  • ~Students should take notes, underline, and/or highlight important material.
  • Once each group member has read through the passage, students should begin to work together to consolidate their findings.
  • ~Teachers should continually check on group progress, making certain that no incorrect information or conclusions are being made.
  • Each group presents their findings to the class.
  • ~Students take notes and ask questions during each presentation.
  • Make certain that the important takeaways are all touched on by each group.
  • Use student findings to fuel a class discussion or prepare for a written assignment.

Post Activity/Takeaways/Follow-up


  • Takeaways will vary for each document.
  • It is important to create a list of takeaways for each text analyzed with a Jigsaw activity.


  • A lecture or further discussion may be required, depending on if students extracted all the information needed or not.


  • Compare student findings with the takeaways prepared prior to the exercise.
  • Quiz students on important information from the group presentations. (This should be based upon the important takeaways created during preparation.)

Common Core State Standards Met

  • Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2, 3
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4, 5, 6
  • Reading Standards for Informational Text 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2, 3
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4, 5, 6
  • Writing Standards 6-12
  • ~Text Types and Purposes: 1, 2
  • ~Research to Build and Present Knowledge: 8, 9
  • Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
  • ~Comprehension and Collaboration: 1, 2, 3
  • ~Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: 4
  • Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2, 3
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4, 5, 6
  • Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6-12
  • ~Text Types and Purposes: 1, 2
  • ~Research to Build and Present Knowledge: 8, 9

Related Lesson Plans for this Work