Thursday, March 18, 2010

Topic: Informational Reading

NOTE: In my blog, English Updates, I will be completing an in-depth study of the new federal guidelines for English language arts. For other up-to-date reviews of professional articles in English education journals, please see my blog, English Education Archives at

10-second review: Special emphasis on informational reading through the grades.

Title: “CCSSI (Common Core State Standards Initiative) for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies and Science.” March 10, 2010, p. 1.

Summary/Quote: “…the need for college and career-ready students to be proficient in reading complex informational ext independently in a variety of content areas. Most of the required reading in college and workforce training programs is informational in structure and challenging in content; postsecondary education programs typically provide students with both a higher volume of such reading than is generally required in K-12 schools and comparatively little scaffolding.”

Comment: “Scaffolding” is an eduspeak buzz word that means helping students to learn. “Scaffolding” information books means teachers’ using the directed reading assignment for the purpose of training the students to use the same techniques themselves. The directed reading assignment involves the following steps:

. Building background information on the topic to be read.

. Pre-teaching unfamiliar vocabulary.

. Surveying the chapter: students read the first and last paragraph and the first sentence of intermediate paragraphs.

. Setting the purpose, first by the teacher in lower grades, then, in higher grades, students raising questions to be answered from reading the text.

. After reading, discussion of the questions that were answered and application of the information in some way.

By the beginning of high school, students should be able to use the same process them selves.

The implication behind increasing the amount of informational reading through the grades is less emphasis on literature, fiction and novels, that is, narrative material.

My experience has been that content teachers reject helping students learn to use the directed reading assignment because they feel that they are doing the work for the students, when, in fact, it is designed to help students learn to read efficiently themselves. RayS. You will find the standards at RayS.

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