Monday, November 25, 2013

Reading Informational Text

Informational Text is non-fiction text that could include articles, essays, opinion pieces, diverse media and multimedia including photographs, infographics, and video, and of course books.  While fictional text will continue to be read in school, (who doesn’t like a great story), as youth get older, the ratio rises from a focus on narrative text in the early grades, to fourth grades youth reading about 50-50 and by the senior year in high school, informational text comprises about 70% of assigned reading.  
Obviously newspapers (print or online) could be the perfect place to find a great deal of informational text.  In response, the New York Times published these 10 Easy Ways to Weave in The Times. 
“Easy Ways to Weave in The Times
1. Have students scan just the front page or homepage daily or weekly in order to:
  • Take our daily News Quiz, which is based on that day’s print front page.
  • Choose an article to read in depth, perhaps using our reading log.
  • Learn vocabulary, keeping track of it here. Reading just the front page of The New York Times every day introduces scores of SAT-level words in context. On June 14, for instance, you could find vibrant, fissure, unscathed, sectarian, volatile, inert, pretext and many more.
  • Practice making quick connections — to another text, to their own personal life, to something they’re studying in school, or to another trend, controversy or topic they’ve heard or read about. This graphic organizer can help.
  • Play Front Page Bingo with any day’s Times to find articles that fit criteria like “A story that might benefit from a chart or graph, and why” or “If an alien landed here and read only this page of this paper, what is one conclusion it might draw about human beings?”
2. Augment a unit with a great photograph, infographic or video. Search Times multimedia to find content related to your curriculum. Our Teaching With Infographics collection might also help.
3. Use Times Search to put in keywords (“Macbeth,” “World War II,”) and find articles that connect to your curriculum. You can choose to search just recent editions of the paper, or go back to any date since 1851.
4. Have students respond online to our daily Student Opinion question, each of which links to a recent, high-interest Times article. Since we keep all our questions open, they can also scroll through and choose the ones they like best.
5. Have students start academic research with Times Topics pages. Use our post about 10 ways to use The Times for research to learn more.
6. Quickly find Times resources for often-taught subjects with our Teaching Topics page, a living index to collections we’ve made on topics from immigration to “To Kill a Mockingbird” to global warming to bullying.
7. Have students play World History Standards Bingo to see how the same trends, patterns and concepts studied in global history are echoed in today’s news.
8. Read how real teachers have woven in The Times in our series of Great Ideas from Educators. Or submit your own!
9. Get our e-mail, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook, to quickly scan what’s new on The Learning Network daily. When big news breaks, we nearly always post teaching suggestions and useful links within 24 hours.
10. Have your students participate in our contests. This July we’re running a Summer Reading contest, last winter we had a quotation contest, and we’ve just wrapped up our second Found Poetry challenge.”
To find more information go to:  
The Times and the Common Core Standards: Reading Strategies for ‘Informational Text’
Let us know what strategies you are using to support the use of informational text.  Send details to us at

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