Literacy Connections

Literacy Links & Resources

November 15, 2015

As I've fielded questions around unpacking and launching the new units, a common thread has emerged. To teach students how to read and write nonfiction at the level Common Core standards are demanding, we as teachers will need to deepen our own understanding of how the different structures work. I'm certainly learning right along side you.

This edition of Literacy Connections is loaded with resources for supporting the reading nonfiction units. I've scoured the internet for timely articles, titles, and videos that will hopefully build on our background knowledge of nonfiction text structures and reading strategies. Warning...there are a LOT of links included! While I always hope that these newsletters will be resources that you revisit often, that hope is especially true for this issue. Please star it..return to it often as you're navigating the new nonfiction units.

Happy Reading!


The Kitchen Sink

Text Features vs. Text Structures

As we are becoming more familiar with the new non-fiction reading units, there has been a clear focus defined between text features and text structures.

K-2 non-fiction units continue to focus on using text features (titles, captions, bolded words, etc) to read and understand texts. In 3rd grade this focus begins to shift to identifying/understanding text structures (problem/solution, compare/contrast, chronological, etc) as a way of understanding "how a text will go" to help a reader know how to organize note taking/thinking. A focus on text structures continues to be built upon in 4th and 5th grade.

Mary Lee Hahn, 5th grade teacher in Dublin, OH shared a very helpful blog post with mentor texts for the different structures. While her examples are for 5th grade, the examples are helpful for teachers at ALL grade levels looking to deepen their understanding of the differences between these structures. Click here to read her post.

Anchor Charts to Support NF Reading & Writing

ChartChums is a great resource for all things anchor charts as many of you already know. This past post offers some good reminders for making and using charts that support nonfiction reading. Click here to read the post.

Teaching NF with Passion

Primary teacher and book blogger, Carrie Gelson, wrote a set of three posts filled with ideas for using nonfiction in the classroom. Along with her own passion for using non-fiction picture books, her posts include a slew of fantastic titles that you might want to add to your own collections. Click here to read her first post in a three part series. Links to her other posts are included.

K-2 Connections

Infusing Informational Text Across the Day

Using ideas from the Writing Units of Study to enhance the sessions in the Reading Units of Study serve to strengthen the links between the two. Kathleen Neagle Sokolowsky, contributor at Two Writing Teachers shared some great ideas for using informational texts throughout the day in TWT recent blog series on NonFiction. Click here to read her post.

Classroom Displays for Nonfiction Learning from Choice Literacy

Thinking about how we make space in our classrooms for students to share their learning becomes increasingly important when we are thinking about all they are learning during NF reading and writing units. Andrea Smith, contributor to Choice Literacy, shares some ideas for making the most of classroom space. Click here to find out more.
Patrick Allen: Fact Finders! Shared Nonfiction Think-Aloud (Available March 2013)

3-5 Connections

A Non-Fiction Triumvirate

Did you feel that need to look triumvirate up? I did!

triumvirate (n.): an association or group of three

Author Melissa Stewart has provide a great overview (with mentor text suggestions) of non-fiction categories, writing styles, and text structures that are helpful not just for sharing with student but also for helping you build your own background knowledge around nonfiction text. Click here to read more.

While I love to read, and do a lot of it, I most definitely have a gap in the nonfiction titles I read. Most of the nonfiction reading I do is professional books. As I work to fill that "gap" in my own reading diet, I'm leaning heavily on literacy friends who are much more well read. Alyson Beecher, Literacy Coach in Pasadena, CA shares some great tips for teachers are who looking to expand their own nonfiction reading. Click here to read Alyson's post.

Helpful Hints from Mike Ochs via Twitter Chats

Resources for Quality NF Articles for Middle Grade Classrooms

The Book Buzz

All book summaries are from