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teaching nonfiction

Sport Climbing: Three Sources + Cheat Sheet

What kind of sport climbing are you interested in? Speed climbing? Lead climbing? Or bouldering? There are some great sources on this hot topic–I chose a video and two articles that compliment each other (i.e., they have similar main ideas but each contributes interesting supporting details). And of course, there’s a cheat sheet, too. You …Read more

Padlet with Sets of High Interest Sources

The pandemic provides an excellent opportunity for many of our students to read A LOT nonfiction and to read W I D E L Y on a lot of topics of interest. The benefits are numerous–more background knowledge, better comprehension, bigger vocabulary, and the development of a love for what reading offers. There are even …Read more

Conferring Tip #2: Assess Fluency

Truth #1 – When a student is reading nonfiction, their rate may slow down when they are making sense of harder parts and speed up when they are making sense of easier parts. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL! It means they are attempting to monitor for meaning making!!!! Truth #2 – A student may never read as …Read more

Conferring Tip #1: When readers get stuck on a word, teach for cross-checking.

Readers use multiple sources of information to figure out tricky words. Have you noticed students who rely solely on visual cues when they get stuck on a word? Or, in some cases, ignore the visual cues altogether? Our students may need a reminder to use multiple sources of information to figure out a word – …Read more

Helpful Predictions vs. Not

“That’s not enough,” I said. The students’ mouths dropped open. The look on their faces said “Whaaat???” We’d just watched the first dozen seconds of the video “Baby Elephants.” I’d paused the video and asked them to make a prediction. “Based on the introduction, what do you think you’ll be learning about in this video?” …Read more

Got Striving Readers? Recommend Series Nonfiction

Snakes. Dinosaurs. Rocks. I remember tutoring a young striving reader who would not come into the room until I showed him the book I wanted him to read that day. He had one condition. It had to be nonfiction! I’m pretty sure this student’s reading would have been on-track the previous year if he’d had …Read more

Mnemonics for Making Predictions with Info Texts – HIP, TELL, THIEVES

A student glancing at a text and predicting “It is about dolphins” is just not good enough. This surface level prediction will not help them as much as an informed prediction. This is what I would want students to say in a prediction: “I think this book is going to be about the dolphins that …Read more

Critical Thinking Across Multiple Texts – Choosing Texts Part 2

I’m hooked on the art of locating and layering texts for students to read and think across. In my last entry, I described a series of lessons where middle school students used an evolving definition of “honorable” to think critically about the role of medieval age warriors and modern warriors. We chose text excerpts and …Read more

Critical thinking across multiple texts – Part I

In a 7th grade social studies class I visited a few weeks ago, the students used an evolving definition of “honorable” as a lens for reading multiple texts on warriors – ancient and modern. In the image below, the blue text was our original definition. As the students engaged in discussions about what it means …Read more

“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. I’ve been thinking about this and tried out a new analogy with a group of students today – text structures are like …Read more