Post for the week of April 29, 2013
Now on to greater exploration of this document.
For this week, number 3: balance of literary and informational text vs. solely literature.
First, think about the bulk of the reading you do for your work. It's packed with information, right? And you know how to read to get the information you need to do your job, right?
To be prepared for college or a career, students need a lot of non-fiction (or informational text structures) under their belts. They need significant practice at reading, annotating, discussing, and writing structures other than narrative (stories, plot-driven, character-driven texts).
Many high school students leave school equating "reading" with novels from English class. We need to make sure the students are more well rounded in their reading.
To achieve this practice, we need to encourage more reading of informational texts. In K-5, students may have just one teacher for all subjects, so that teacher can create an even balance of literary and informational texts using content from social studies and science.
In grades 6-12, it's the duty of all educators to achieve this balance. This statement means that even non-English teachers are expected to teach reading and writing standards: see pages 71-79 of the Frameworks.
For 6-12 English teachers, lots of seminal American texts are required reading now. Think about speeches, essays, and other government documents.
ALL TEACHERS should get comfortable with the literary and informational offerings of Appendix B. It is full of lists of great texts at the required Lexile levels.
So, the next time you teach a poem, short story, play, or novel, think "how can I work informational text into this unit of study?" Or "how can I build a unit around a new informational text?" If we all work together, we can make this balance a reality.