How do you use different types of reading (prose, poetry, informational text, charts, tables and graphics, etc.) in your classroom?
Tara, Science in the City: I am a science teacher, so using charts and graphs is easy. The often come up in student work, textbooks, and past exam questions. I also try to integrate news articles (especially from newsela.com), and text/review book readings as sources of information for students. Finally, I have had students create songs or poems to show their knowledge on a topic (the water cycle, types of macromolecules, etc). They get really into this project, and get to show their creativity, and practice writing.
Ellen Weber: One way I use informational text in upper classes includes stoking students’ insights for innovative initiatives. We move from what we know to know we create or initiate. For instance, in a text titled Fall Bounty – a Harvest for the Mind, students gather and share stored wisdom into a harvest gala.
Students select mental nourishment insights from dozens of quotes and then write an essay of 300 to 500 words, to describe how to store related ideas that prepare themselves and their peers for mentally challenging seasons. In this case, we share insights related to their informational text, in a fall harvest celebration and an illustrated bulletin board where each contribute a harvest image.
Clair, High School English on a Shoestring Budget: In English, it’s easy to (just) include poetry and prose. But I also challenge myself to bring in maps or use graphic organizers that are charts or tables. For Frankenstein, I’ve had students plot the locations on a map or Europe. For Call of the Wild, I’ve shown maps of the dog sled routes as well as information on the temperatures. The challenge, I think, in English is thinking beyond prose (whether it’s fiction or nonfiction) and using other tools to show how these tools are useful in all subjects. Even the first part of the Movie vs. Book comparison is to fill in the table with similarities and differences.
Sara, Ms. Fuller’s Teaching Adventures: As an English teacher I use them all the time. Currently my first year college writing students are using non-fiction argumentative articles from the New York Times to write summary and response papers. I like to try to find current articles about various topics to keep them engaged.
Even in these writing courses though I like to throw in poetry I find to practice annotating and close reading!
Jackie, Room 213: I try to spend a little time each semester talking to students about how they read their screens. Reading on a computer adds a whole new distracting dimension, with ads, hyperlinks, etc. Reading is not so straightforward on the Net, and when we get sent on a new path with a hyperlink, our reading comprehension goes down. That’s ok when you’re reading for pleasure, but if you do need to read for comprehension, then you need to develop strategies to deal with all of the noise and clutter on your screen. So, I show students examples of link-studded informational text that they may be using for research, or an article they have to read for class discussion. We talk about the difference between a link that might be useful as they read (one that offers background info or a definition) and ones that can be left until the end. It’s not easy to teach our digital natives reading patience and focus, but I think it’s a skill we need to pass on!
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