Understanding and Decoding Nonfiction Text

Understanding. Decoding. Absorbing. Whatever you want to call it, kids develop skills to dig into nonfiction text. They learn to pay attention to details and themes.
 Apparently this kind of work is an integral part of South Carolina’s Standards for reading and writing. During my 10-days of school visits in Lexington, SC, I saw teachers using a variety of strategies. They gave me permission to share their ideas here.

One focus was graphing. Students researched a topic and then graphed what they learned. Sometimes it was the part of an animal’s body. Sometimes it was a fact related to the animal. Some students did this work after reading Ant, Ant, Ant: an Insect Chant.

Another strategy used by literacy coach Lee Motley at Red Bank Elementary is to have young students, right after reading, talk/write/draw about what they remember from a book. This solidifies what they have learned. It carries it from past memory into future understanding.

Still other students and one brilliant teacher took facts from The Bumblebee Queen and leapt into their own creative ABCs of bees. Beautiful! Reorganizing what you have learned solidifies it, as well.

My thanks to the teachers and librarians at the Lexington Elementary Schools.

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