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Nonfiction Text and the Struggling Reader

Main_Header   apple orchard picThis school year has come to an end and as I reflect on my Glows and Grows I have realized that curriculum changes for grade k-2 challenges the teacher’s understanding of literacy. One of the major shifts for these grade levels is the use of nonfiction text. Although I have been teaching for 15 years I learned a lot about the effect that nonfiction text has on struggling readers. Over the years I have heard teachers say that that struggling readers lack vocabulary. My question is, “How do you increase the students’ vocabulary?” The answer to my question is to expose the students to more text. This is the part that confuses most elementary teachers. The ratio of nonfiction text to fictional text has changed from 70%-fiction and 30%-nonfiction to 50%-nonfiction and 50%-fiction. So, for every fictional text that an elementary teachers reads to his/her students there should be a nonfiction text to match.

I know that teachers in grades k-2 like all of the fairy tales and cute stories that students read because they are cute and fun but the real truth is that these stories do not increase the students’ vocabulary. Nonfiction text can be fun for student too. Nonfiction text is easy to implement because it’s real and can be explained with examples from our everyday lives.

It also increase the students’ curiosity about the topic because it applied to their everyday lives.
20150312_202121-1For example, after we read A Day at the Apple Orchard at breakfast one of my students took his apple and pointed to bottom of the apple and said, “This is the eye.” It then began a whole conversation about the seeds of the apple with several students talking about the apple and presenting information from the lesson. I cannot tell you how proud I was of my students. Based  on their conversation I knew that they had learned about apples and also increase their vocabulary because they were using the new tier 3 vocabulary that they had learned from the story. After a month of reading nonfiction text to my students most of my students’ iStation data in the category for vocabulary increased. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. I would love to hear your comments. Don’t forget to download your freebie! category_2.fw a Rafflecopter giveawayHop_On.fwnext_blogger_icon.fw

I help math teachers who teach high need students to effectively manage their classrooms and deliver high quality math instruction. Learn more about me


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