Uses of Different Kinds of Texts

short texts vs. textbooks

All types of texts are important and should be used often--"Let them be your friends". Text help to provoke thinking and to help create more engaged and active learners. Use it often in and out of the classroom and make sure you give choice, it will really make a difference for both students and teachers. So make sure you fill the classroom with texts of all different shapes, sizes, and topics.

Short texts

Short texts should be used more often in schools. They give students the opportunity to read a piece quickly, dig into the themes and respond to them. Compelling short texts are everywhere and they should be saved when found to later be a resource in the classroom. When collecting short texts consider the following:

  • -Purpose- know why you are using and picking the type of text and what it will be used for.
  • -Audience- think about the interest, ages, and learning needs of the students to know if it will be a good text for them.
  • -Genre- try and use a variety to help expose students to the different characteristics of each form.
  • -Topic- make sure it will be interesting to students and that it can help to differentiate instruction
  • -Writing Quality- make sure it will be challenging and use different kinds of vivid writing (like metaphors)
  • -Text structures and features- make sure there is a variety of this

Picture Books

They help to support teaching strategies by:

-activating background knowledge, questioning, and visualizing

ALL students can benefit from picture books with their wide range of issues, ideas, words, and themes.

  • -picture books cannot be overestimated
  • -they can be very sophisticated and help with comprehension strategies and be good for older kids to use
  • -the illustrations help younger kids to comprehend the text better
  • -the best kind of text for reluctant readers- it is less intimidating and will help them to gain confidence
  • -helps diverse learners to have a better shot at making sense of the ideas, story lines, and information in the text-- also helps to build on their background knowledge
  • -they help to teach students to read texts strategically since it will sharpen and enhance their understanding of the content. And at the same time, teachers can bring up issues, problems and concerns without deluging students with facts and information
  • -they will challenge kids to think and if they have ambiguity and mystery then they will be more likely to hold a students attention and to prompt questions and inferences
  • -"No book is really worth reading at the age of ten that is not equally worth reading at the age of fifty"
  • -Pick and read picture books simply because you love them

The short texts and mini lessons with them help to apply knowledge of what was learned to longer texts when students read independently


Students must read texts that they want to read and can read if they want to be successful at reading, thinking, and getting something meaningful from the text

Chose for readability

  • -Easy- can easily read all the words and understand all the ideas
  • -Challenging- doesn't understand many words or ideas and has little background knowledge about the topic
  • -Just Right- can read and understand most of the words, but not necessarily all. It challenges us to think but does not frustrate us

*if we choose just easy or just challenging book then we will not get better at reading.

*Also think about purpose and interest when picking books

*Create a list with the class on what strategies they use to pick books

*Also have students record what their interests are or what books they would like to read--this will help to pick and find book you know your students will want


  • -Textbooks are the most challenging kind of text that children come along in school
  • -This is why students do not want to ever read them- they are too boring and uninteresting
  • -We teach students to slow down, really think about the information, connect the new to the known, ask questions, jot thoughts and work together to summarize the information in textbooks
  • -Textbooks are full of disconnected facts that neither educate nor motivate students-- they just cover too many topics
  • -We encounter two problems with textbooks:1.TMI- too much information and 2. NEI- not enough information
  • -with TMI we help kids sort and sift to find what is important. with NEI we tell kids to look up more information

*Textbooks are most effective when surrounded by a variety of other resources - since it is easier to just dip in and out to get information

Active literacy practices:

-text lifting

-thinking aloud

-interactive reading aloud

-strategic note taking

-leaving tracks of thinking on sticky notes

Comprehension strategies:

-activating background knowledge

-asking questions

-inferring meaning

-sorting and sifting important information

-summarizing and synthesizing big ideas and concepts

Teaching to read textbooks

  • -Navigating the format
  • -learning from the text and visual features
  • -previewing the chapter

*After this, we then need to teach kids how to learn, understand, and remember the content

5 ways to use textbooks more efficiently

  1. Have empathy
  2. Help kids get started
  3. Don't leave kids alone with their textbooks
  4. Choose wisely
  5. Supplement richly

My Reflection

I thought these were interesting and helpful chapters to read. They really enforce the importance of using short texts and picture books at all grade levels. They are just a simple way for students to gain knowledge quickly and effectively. It is important to keep a students attention and interest so they can be motivated to learn more. It is also helpful to make sure students pick out books that are a just-right fit and that they do have choice and have a say in what they read. Textbooks are not the best choice for a text because they are not interesting and very difficult for students to read and learn from. However, they are unavoidable sometimes and teachers then need to teach students strategies on how to read them more easily and retrieve information from them. However, when I am a teacher I will try and use short texts as much as possible. They just seem like they are a better fit for students and seem to be more useful and effective.