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teaching informational text writing

“Building” analogy to teach “text structure”

How many of us hunt for the perfect texts to teach “text structure” and end up just banging our heads against the wall? It’s because texts are more complex than five simple structures. Below I describe an analogy I’ve started using with students to get beyond this problem.  A building has a purpose (to be …Read more

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Easier Main Ideas – Think Traits of Historical Figures

I’ve been thinking about how we can help students identifying multiple main/central ideas in a text. Traditionally we’ve focused on identifying one main idea, but beginning in 5th grade (and continuing in 6th and 7th), the Common Core Standards for Reading Informational Texts expect students to be able to “determine two or more main ideas …Read more

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4th to 6th grade – Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl

Book review and recommendations for close reading (excerpts, CCSS-aligned questions, etc.) Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl (Bolden, 2005). I found this book when I started searching other titles by one of my “go to” authors Tonya Bolden. The book is put together in a way I’d like to explore with 4th-6th grade students. The author’s …Read more

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Tip #3 for Locating Paired Informational Texts – By Same Author

What do you notice regarding the similarities in the types of details included in these sentences from two different books by Seymour Simon? Your backbone, or spine, is a flexible column of bones that runs down the middle of your body. It is made up of a chain of thirty-three small bones called vertebrae, which …Read more

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Reading & Writing Procedure Texts in Primary Grades, Part II

Earlier I blogged about mentor texts for procedure writing with primary grade students. Once you launch your unit with mentor texts, jump into shared writing of procedure texts with your students, co-creating models of procedure writing and related anchor charts with reminders for writing these texts. You might start with a “how-to” demonstration so the …Read more

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