Somebody Wanted But So Then

UDL 3.2 UDL 6.2

Somebody Wanted But So Then is a summarizing strategy that uses a series of prompts to name key fictional story elements. Each word in the name of the strategy is used to help students focus on different aspects of a text. After a teacher introduces this strategy, students can independently use these prompts to summarize and monitor their comprehension (e.g., Somebody: Who is the main character? / Wanted: What are they trying to achieve? / But: What issue do they face? / So: How do they attempt to fix it? / Then: What happened in the end?). This can be an effective strategy when introducing problem and solution in texts, or to support students that are demonstrating difficulty keeping track of key story elements across a text.

Implementation Tips

Pre-teach fictional story elements (i.e., plot, setting, character, conflict, solution, theme, point of view) to support background knowledge before introducing the Somebody Wanted But So Then summarizing strategy.
Prepare a Somebody Wanted But So Then [[ | anchor chart ]] and choose a fictional text with a clear problem and solution to use when introducing the strategy. Check out these [[ | familiar story summaries and printable graphic organizers ]] for students to use.
Model how to use the strategy by explaining your thought process (e.g., using think alouds) as you reflect on the key elements of a text. Use a familiar story, such as a previous class read aloud to make the text relevant for students. Fill in each section of the anchor chart together before students practice independently.
Reflection Question
Add a question at the end of the strategy that asks students to reflect on the text’s ending/resolution to help deepen understanding (e.g., “Were you surprised by how the main character found a resolution, or by how the story ended? Why or why not?”).
Build Independence
Give students Somebody Wanted But So Then [[ | bookmarks ]] to promote self-monitoring while reading (e.g., students can use it as a guide or can stop and jot sticky notes as their stories evolve). During a mid-workshop interruption, remind students to use their bookmarks to check for understanding.
Building A Routine
Build a routine by encouraging students to summarize every time they finish reading a text (e.g., read alouds, independent reading in school/home). Students can also apply the Somebody Wanted But So Then strategy across content areas (i.e., using it as a writing outline when creating narratives.)


Analyzing Complex Chapter Books
After reading [[ | Henry and Ribsy ]] by Beverly Cleary as a class read aloud, students in small groups complete a Somebody Wanted But So Then graphic organizer. Students in each group work together to track the complex storyline (e.g., multiple problems and solutions) and build a summary. After, groups share their Somebody Wanted But So Then summaries and compare/contrast them. The class agrees that the content of the text is much more complicated than other texts, and then engages in a discussion about the importance of tracking multiple problems and solutions in chronological order when summarizing more challenging texts
Assessing Student Comprehension
While conducting a formative assessment, a teacher notices that a student is having difficulty summarizing only the most important details from the text (e.g., the student is restating the story word-for-word or has difficulty recalling accurate information). To support the student, the teacher introduces the Somebody Wanted But So Then strategy and explains how it will help build a summary with a few short sentences. The student applies the strategy to summarize the assessment text. After, the teacher provides a sticky note listing the strategy prompts for the student to use as a reminder and guide when summarizing independently.

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