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Proposition/Support Outline

The Proposition/Support Outline strategy helps students separate factual and opinionated materials in a reading selection. Students learn to isolate information that reflects opinion, bias, personal viewpoints, and hypotheses from factual statements.

The Proposition/Support Outline provides a graphical organizer by which students list the "propositions"—statements than can be argued as true, false, or debatable—of a document. Using this list as a guide, students search the reading selection, record supporting arguments, and draw conclusions about the nature of each of these propositions. This strategy emphasizes independent, critical thinking as well as information organization and reading comprehension.

Steps to Proposition/Support Outlines:

  1. Introduce the exercise by discussing the difference in statements of fact and opinion. Have students offer strategies for determining each. Put these criteria to test by providing a list of statements (or "propositions") for students to identify as fact or opinion.

  2. Assign a reading selection and have students, organized in small groups, identify the main propositions of a document. The student groups then evaluate each of these statements, looking for evidence of opinion, bias, or personal viewpoints. Students label each statement as fact or opinion.

  3. Have the groups share their conclusions with the entire class. Encourage discussion/debate of any statement about which the groups cannot agree.

  4. Reiterate the process of evaluation at the end of the exercise.

Print out the Proposition/Support Outline worksheet.

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