Common Core: The Fuss Over Non-Fiction


Q: My Readers' Workshop already helps students to make significant gains over the year. Aside from the Common Core and its assessment, why is it so important that I teach with informational texts?
There are many reasons why it makes sense to include more informational text in your teaching:

  • Children have lots of questions and diverse interests. Texts that address these can increase motivation to read. For many students, this is actually the type of reading they prefer. (Statistics about the amount of non-fiction that circulates from your school library will probably bear this out!)

  • Much of the reading students will encounter outside of school is informational, and adults who model reading read a great deal of non-fiction, including informational text. Even the Internet is full of informational reading.

  • As students progress through the grades and on to college or work, they will be expected to do more informational reading, and the reading will increase in difficulty. By making a shift to include more expository text, you will help students transition to the demands of “reading to learn” in the content areas.

  • Because informational text teaches about the natural and social world, an added benefit is that students who read this type of text will build background knowledge of the natural and social world. They will bring more prior knowledge to the page when encountering future texts. This will aid in comprehension.

  • Reading informational texts may build visual literacy and word knowledge. Exposure to features like sidebars, captions, charts, tables, and diagrams and specialized, technical vocabulary could contribute greatly to children's overall literacy development.

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