Asking three basic questions can help middle grades readers connect with informational texts and make sense of their meaning. Literacy consultant Sunday Cummins describes several classroom-tested steps that can aid students in identifying and analyzing new information in nonfiction material.
Similar to the benefits of class read-alouds and independent reading, podcasts can be incorporated as a way to increase students’ understanding of stories and information, with kids often making “text to self” connections. Kathie Palmieri includes sources and favorites.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, middle grades teacher Kasey Short offers a list of nonfiction and fiction books representing a wide range of girl’s and women’s voices and experiences. All students benefit from reading about smart, brave women who make positive impacts.
Literacy specialist Sunday Cummins shares her “explode to explain” technique, using a Newsela story about shark-spotting aerial drones along the beaches of Australia. It’s one more tool to help students develop a skill set for understanding and retaining informational text.
Examining the human impact of climate change through texts allows students to connect climate science to the human cost of climate change, develop empathy for communities impacted by climate change, and discover more about climate justice, writes ELA teacher Kasey Short.
When students get beyond their initial engagement in high-interest topics this fall, they will need strategies to empower their reading experience. Literacy coach Sunday Cummins suggests a mnemonic tool to help nonfiction readers make informed predictions: T.H.I.E.V.E.S!
What can we do to encourage kids to choose nonfiction more frequently for personal enjoyment? Cate Gerard and Sunday Cummins share what Cate discovered when interviewing middle graders about their reading habits and recommend class and virtual strategies and resources.
Learning to read hard nonfiction is a life skill, says principal Rita Platt. It allows students to dive deep into content, enriches vocabulary, and can be a jumping-off point for developing lifelong pursuits. Platt shares strategies her school uses to spark interest.
A librarian introduces Mary Tarashuk’s 4th graders to The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate. Mary builds on the true story, taking its cross cultural message to social studies and ELA, and applies its story of rededication to her own teaching.
Whether they are fiction or nonfiction, the best stories are told through mood as we react to events, people and emotions. For students, identifying, tracking and exploring moods in stories and images is an easy way to enter into text. Teacher Trevor Bryan shares his approach.