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teaching with informational texts

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

Insect Superfood: Two Sources + Cheat Notes

Entomophagy is the human consumption of insects as food. While we were in Mexico last summer, my husband and I tried avocado toast with crickets at La Gruta, a restaurant near Teotihuacán, Mexico. There tasty! This week’s sources for remote learning (during COVID-19 pandemic) are on this high interest topic. Geared towards 2nd-5th grade. I’ve included …Read more

Driverless Cars: Three Sources + Cheat Notes

This text set includes two articles and a video on this HOT TOPIC! See further below for cheat notes on similar details in the sources. Probably most appropriate for 4th-7th grades. Source 1 VIDEO “Why don’t we have self-driving cars yet?” by Business Insider This is about five minutes. The details I suggest using begin …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

Observing for what students are “not saying” during conferences

During conferences, I listen to what students are saying but I also listen for what they are NOT saying. For many students, when you ask them to tell you what they have learned from a complex informational text (or a part of a text), they will talk about content they understood without you. Rarely will …Read more

On the power of inquiry charts…my kids surprised me when…

Recently I had the honor of talking with Sara, a teacher in Iowa, whose students have started using inquiry charts. In a nutshell, these charts help students determine what is important and organize their notes as they read-view-listen to multiple sources. (If you’re not familiar with inquiry charts, please check out an article I wrote …Read more