Thursday, December 22, 2016

Non Fiction & Informational Reading in the Middle School Classroom

Ahhh...non fiction reading.
Something all students love.  Every year when we start our informational unit my students are just bursting with excitement, eager to get started. They sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for me to depart knowledge of text structures, annotating strategies, and how to determine central idea. The first day of our non-fiction unit is only second to the first day of poetry.
If only...
I try to make non-fiction reading as engaging as I can. Meeting the students where they are in order to get them where I want them to be.

This is a two pronged approach...

1st: Picking articles that students can relate to.  If you have not had the opportunity to check out Newsela, you need to do so now!
This website has relevant, high interest, and up to date articles. You can adjust the lexile level of the article (differentiation, anyone?!) AND there are Common Core aligned quizzes!! AND, get this, it's all FREE!

2nd: I try to use as many hands on materials and movement as I can. 

{For example... }

  • I cut out these cute task cards and put one on each table.  
  • Everyone does task one on their own.  
  • Then, they rotate every five minutes with their groups.  
  • They collaborate on the answers, but everyone has to write on their own task cards.  
  • I rotate and encourage deeper thinking (meaning I ask, "why is that?" a lot! haha)

 {another example}

  • When I teaching students the difference between the central idea of a section and overall central idea, I use this fun foldable.
  • Students read a section of an information piece, then write the central idea {with textual evidence} on the flaps.
  • In the middle, they put all the information gathered together, to determine an overall central idea.  

With a little movement and some hands on activities, you will find your students engaged in your unit!
If you are looking for more Non-Fiction/Informational resources, click here.

 Happy Teaching,

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