Text complexity can’t be left to individual reading levels. As we teach other standards, we are teaching into text complexity, building our students reading muscles to take on more and more challenging texts. Refer to standards indicated on the graphicRefer to handout with indicators found in different nf texts for teacher reference when finding mentor textsNext slide – reteaching students how to stop and jot while reading non-fiction (not only strengthens comprehension but preparing students to be researchers.
Just like we teach kids to be strong thinkers of fiction, we have to do the same for non-fiction. We nndieed to do this separately from when kids are researching to write. This kind of thinking – what readers do – comprehension strategies for nonfiction – is important for overall comprehension first as it builds a foundation for research.NEXT SLIDE – Understanding the different kinds of organizational patterns
Notice these are the same ways texts students read get more difficult – Clearly stated main ideas with sections (chunks) Graphics to further develop a point Size of chunks – elaboration / development Vocabulary – specific to topic
Reading and Writing
Aimee Buckner, 2013
Note: The first standard is quite
literal asking students to be able to
read within the „four corners‟ of
the text. It‟s looking for literal
Standard 1 is the base on which the
other standards build towards
standard 10 referring to text
complexity. ALL the standards (1-
9) build up to this last one. This is
true at each grade level.
Reading Informational Texts (4th Grade)
Key Ideas and Details
- Ask and answer questions based on the text
- Refer to details and examples from the text when explaining and/or inferring
- Identify main idea / Summarize events
- Explain events, ideas, or concepts including what happened and why
Craft and Structure
- Determine the meaning of general academic and domain specific words and/or
- Describe the overall structure (cause/effect; problem/solution; comparison, etc)
- Compare and contrast different accounts – including first hand and second hand
Integration of Knowledge
- Interpret information given visually (text features) or quantitatively (statistics)
and how the information helps the reader’s overall understanding.
- Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support points in a text
- Integrate knowledge from two or more sources on the same topic to write or
speak about the subject knowledgeably. (RESEARCH)
Range of Reading and Text Level Complexity
By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social
studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades text complexity band proficiently,
with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Reader and Task
Teaching the NF Reading
• It‟s not about personal response or just
reading for information.
• It‟s a highly analytical mode of reading.
• Can‟t be stop and go reading – stop and
jot a fact kind of note taking.
• Emphasis is synthesis, evaluation and
• Think: How do our kids read NF now?
• What is the next move to help them meet a
for Non-Fiction Readers
Similar to fiction but geared towards informational texts.
What it looks
Cue words Where to find
Facts or events
in order of
This can be
time or by steps
in a process.
Cause / Effect Presents
help the reader
what caused an
event to occur.
In order to
The same as,
I am the Dog. I
am the Cat.
problem an its
A River Ran
Wild by Lynne
• These are some of the more
common patterns students will
come across in their reading.
There are many more.
• It‟s helpful for students to have
cues – other than the main idea
– to determine the organization
of a text.
The act of recomposing information
in a different format so as to
demonstrate understanding without
(Standards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6, 7, 8,
Repletes start eating when regular
worker ants have left overs. They
regurgitate the food. Then, the
repletes eat the food. They keep
eating until they‟re full. Then, they
climb to the roof. They stick on the
roof for maybe months! When food
is low ants gather their antennas
like levers then, pop! The replete
throws up honey! Repletes are
some of the most important ants in
the ant nest. People can eat them
too. Some people pop them and
crunch on them like mints.
- Noah, grade 4
(Standards 1, 2, 3, 4, 7)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to
examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly
A. Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in
paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g.,
headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to
B. Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details,
quotations, or other information and examples related to
C. Link ideas within categories of information using words and
phrases (e.g., another, for example, also, because).
D. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to
inform about or explain the topic.
E. Provide a concluding statement or section related to the
information or explanation presented.
Writing and Language (Focused on NF)
Text Types and Purposes
- Opinion / Argument
- Expository / Informational
Production and Distribution of Writing
- Produce clear, coherent writing appropriate for task and audience
- Strengthen writing with the writing process including planning, revision and
- Use technology
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
- Conduct SHORT – as well as sustained – research projects
- Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital resources while
- Be able to quote/cite evidence from informational texts to support analysis,
reflection, and research.
Range of Writing
- Write routinely over longer time frames (to include time for research, reflection and
revision) and shorter time frames to accomplish a variety of tasks.
Conventions of Standard English
- Demonstrate command of conventions for standard English grammar, usage,
mechanics and spelling
Knowledge of Language
- Apply knowledge of language to make effective choices for meaning or style
A closer look at
RESEARCH TO BUILD AND
- Conduct SHORT – as well as sustained –
- Gather relevant information from multiple
print and digital resources while avoiding
- Be able to quote/cite evidence from
informational texts to support analysis,
reflection, and research.
Informational writing will consist of about a
third of all the writing children do in
Writing across the curriculum not only COUNTS
towards this end, it is encouraged.
WARNING: Informational writing should NOT be
taught ONLY in content areas. It should be
included in the writer’s workshop curriculum.
PHEW! Not everything has to be a huge research project!
Q/A Mentor Text (from HIGHLIGHTS November 2012)
Do sharks eat fish?
Sent in by Lester, Age 7 (by e-mail)
The oceans have almost 400 kinds of sharks, some of them with
unusual diets. Many types of sharks eat fish, including other
sharks. The horn shark can eat crabs. Hammerhead sharks also
eat fish and crabs, and squid, too.
The whale shark doesn’t eat those kinds of prey. Instead, it eats
millions of tiny plants and animals called plankton. Like some
kinds of whales, it swims with its huge mouth open, filtering
plankton from the water.
The most famous shark is the great white. It eats many kinds of
prey, including other sharks, but it seems to prefer seals.
Graphics – diagrams, charts, graphs,
The key to a longer project is in the
prewriting – planning, envisioning,
researching and trying things out
…teaching students to do the
intellectual work involved in
writing about a subject – any
subject – means teaching them to
organize and elaborate on facts
and ideas, to decide on priorities,
to look at information through
different lenses and to entertain
Pathways to the Common
Strategy: Topic Legs
Much like LIST AND STAR for
narrative work, students start with a
topic they know a lot about or want to
know a lot about it.
They create a web of general
information, starring the ones they
about which they could write. Students
write off the stars and then reread their
work. They begin to jot questions down
the margin of information they may
need to research.
- Students sift out what they know and
what they don‟t know.
- Students begin to see a need for
- Sifting through questions will
help student begin to organize
At The Heart of It
Sometimes students love a topic –
like cheetahs – but can‟t figure out
how to focus their passion. This
strategy allows students to get their
love out and look for patterns or
hot topics within their larger
Students then write sample entries
exploring these ideas and reflecting
on the further research that might
Entry from heart
Conferring with Penny,
we could help her
tighten her focus for a
- What are poachers
and why do they hurt
- What is being done to
- How can people
around the world help
Planning, Grade 2
Boxes and bullets can help children
as young as second grade begin to
see if the facts they want to use
actually match the main idea in
Second graders need to introduce a
topic and provide facts and
definitions to develop points.
Justin takes another shot at finding
facts that will support his mina
Boxes and Bullets are a helpful
way for Rebecca to begin planning
her piece about whale sharks.
Because she has experience with
boxes and bullets for reading, she
can use the same process for
writing – making sure she has main
ideas and supporting details.
Eventually, a teacher would want
to move her to a more sophisticated
outline format. However, this
shows her planning and serves the
purpose for Rebecca‟s writing in
Using sticky notes to plan out a
piece makes moving sections
Kids use sticky notes to track their
main idea and/or sub heading.
They go through an oral rehearsal
with their writing partner and one
or two other friends. As they
rehearse what they plan to write,
they can try moving the sections
around to see which way will make
the most sense … before they
commit anything to paper. This
allows – hopefully – for revision to
be more about craft and wording
than restructuring a whole piece.
From Notebooks to Final Pieces
- Study mentor texts
- Allow time to revise for creating voice through
careful word choice
- Carefully consider adding graphics to enhance the
readers comprehension and to support the main
idea(s) of the piece
Write often to write well.
“If you write one story, it may be
bad; if you write a hundred you
have the odds in your favor.”
- Edgar Rice Burroughs
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