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Informational text in the primary grades

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Jenna Meloni

on 3 November 2014

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Transcript of Informational text in the primary grades

Informational text
in the primary grades
Incorporating informational text in the primary grades:
A Research-Based Rationale, Practical Strategies and Two Teachers' Experiences
Informational Texts

Making Learning relevant and meaningful
Incorporating explicit strategy instruction
Finding a balance
How Important Are They?
Ignites students' innate curiosities about the world around them.

Some children prefer informational texts over narrative texts and can provide an entry point for literacy learning.

Informational texts can help children learn about the demands from later schooling and life beyond school.

However, there is not as much attention to this in primary grades as there is in the older grades, and this needs to be fixed.

Both teachers agreed that nonfiction texts are important
to expose children to their world, and that students
should be allowed to draw on their interests and self-select their books.

-One teacher found that students gravitated toward what they are interested in at the time.

-The other teacher noticed the struggling readers were more often choosing nonfiction. (Possibly because of the stimulating pictures).

making Learning Relevant and
Both teachers used texts that connected to their students and their learning. For instance, one teacher used the book, "The Big Red Tomatoes". This connected to their unit in science, as well as in their community.

One teacher read an informational article about nutrition in schools. She then had her students write letters to their school district's food service division.

By reading informational articles to students, they can learn that they are able to have an opinion.
Both teachers used similar comprehension strategy instructions.

Teacher One:
Used informational big books for "think-alouds" to determine importance and what the author was trying to tell them. She modeled the strategy and then explained to students in child-friendly language.

She also taught students how to make connections, ask questions, make inferences, make comparisons and set purposes for reading using informational text.
Both teachers claim students' can learn even more about their world if there is a balance between fiction and nonfiction texts.

Both classrooms contained a variety of nonfiction materials:
-Big books -brochures
-Leveled books -classroom magazines
-trade books -information from the Internet
-video streaming -CD-ROMS

Both teachers also pair fiction and nonfiction in lessons.
Making connections
Both teachers make instructional connections such as reading-writing connections and content-area connections.

One teacher shared the value of writing nonfiction reading responses, writing nonfiction narratives and writing research reports. She discussed providing class books, going on field trips, working with other second grade classrooms, and obtaining brochures and other information from free local sources to help with their research.

The second teacher agreed with all of this, but said she also uses technology to aid the students in research and video streaming to build background knowledge.

Pairing Fiction and Nonfiction Texts
Using paired books can help students understand the topic better as well as keep them interested.

Teachers can pair fiction and nonfiction:
as an introduction to content areas
during read alouds
with small group instruction

Some titles to pair:

"The Perfect Nest" by Catherine Friend (fiction) and "An Egg is Quiet" by Dianna Hutts Aston (nonfiction)

"Sheep Blast Off!" by Nancy Shaw (fiction) and "The Solar System" by Carmen Bredeson (nonfiction)

Cross-curricular connections
There is value in using informational text to make cross-curricular connections.

One teacher sometimes uses fiction to introduce a nonfiction unit.
For example: She used a fiction title, "Ruby's Wish", to introduce a unit on Ancient China.

The second teacher also uses informational text to introduce science.
For example, she used the titles "Big Red Tomatoes" during shared reading and "Peanuts" in guided reading to help students learn about their science unit on plants.
Both teachers mentioned in the article provided many ways to incorporate information texts within a classroom. The teachers agreed that using this type of text provides their students with opportunities to learn about their world.

Providing a balance of different texts, as well as subjects that students are interested in can make a difference in the classroom.

Between the Internet, magazines, newspapers, leveled readers and picture books, there is a ton of informational texts that are readily available for students.
Incorporating Explicit Strategy Instruction
Both teachers:
explained the differences between fiction and nonfiction.
-For example, fiction should be read from start to finish, while nonfiction can be picked apart.
showed students how text features and graphic elements can help them access information in nonfiction texts (captions, graphs, charts, etc).

Teachers must explain all of these things to further aid their students' comprehension of informational texts.
Final thoughts/questions
Throughout this presentation, did you find anything that you liked or disliked about how the teachers used informational texts?
Would you use some of these strategies in your own classroom?
I found this article easy to read and understand. There wasn't any difficult jargon. I would recommend this article to any teachers looking to incorporate more informational texts within his/her classroom.
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