Informational text classroom

Informational text good habits

Reading independence happens when students purposely use their reading skills to enhance learning.

Skills needed to independently learn from informational text

  • Basic reading skills to comprehend text
  • A vocabulary to support learning from a content area reading
  • Know subject area text structure
  • Read age-appropriate text fluently
  • Understand the reasons for using text to learn
  • Background knowledge to support meaning from the text

Prepare struggling readers for content area reading

  • Preview key concepts or vocabulary
  • Plan pre-read discussions
  • Write pre and post reading to target key learning
  • Read complex text in chunks to scaffold learning and check for understanding
  • Practice making inferences from text at central learning points
  • Model and practice thinking techniques while students are using complex text
  • Teach, model, and practice word strategies
  • Implement targeted vocabulary curriculum
  • Increase reading time

Learn from reading

  • Primary sources
  • Secondary sources
  • Authentic text

Quality, not quantity.


  • Textbooks
  • Online
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Blogs
  • Social media

Informational reading from high-quality text

Online resources are easy to find, quality is not guaranteed.

System of text resources

  1. Identify resources
  2. Easy access
  3. Storage system
  4. Quality check
  5. Catalog

Resource access gaps effects learning.

Other than online

Students still need to read from print books. Reading online is difficult, requires great concentration, and takes particular skills.

Online close reading of complex text is hard, especially for younger students learning to read with depth.

  • What skills do our students need to learn from a complex expository text?
  • What text available to use during school hours?
  • Are the textbooks of high quality?
  • Does the textbook have high-quality illustrations, graphs, and other learning sources that go beyond just the text?

Quality books are content rich and use a variety of styles to support learning.

Six steps to better classroom data

Six steps to increase the value of classroom performance data

  1. Determine progression outcomes all students must attain in preparation for current and future learning.
  2. Identify skills and concepts matching intended learning. Rank the skills and concepts by importance, and plot essential skills, ideas, and opportunities that support the plan.
  3. Design or select a summative assessment to measure final learning. The type of evaluation varies based on the desired outcome, and performance expected from students.
  4. Select a diagnostic assessment to measure student preparedness. Include essential and challenging standards in the test or task. If possible, use recent performance data or student work for diagnostic information to minimize time and effort.
  5. Develop an instructional flow and lessons to keep actual learning closer to intended learning. As the plan develops, identify potential reteach or intervention points, and adjust with the diagnostic data.
  6. Embed formative checkpoints used during instruction, intervention, and reteaching. Create a performance task with embedded formative experiences. It allows for adjustments during education and provides scaffolding opportunities for targeted students while building to final decisions on learning effectiveness.

Valuable data

Valuable performance data

Student performance data must have value for the team.

Performance data is not right or wrong. It is either valuable or not. The value comes from the data’s ability to answer questions about students or instructors.

Assessments should be designed to provide valuable data for your team.

Valuable performance data answers questions about student learning, provides feedback on growth, and gives insight to the effectiveness of instructional practice.

What do we need to learn about our students?

Useful performance data comes from planning instruction and assessment for a specific reason.

Performance data sources:

  • Assessments
  • Curriculum-embedded work
  • Writing
  • Tasks requiring students to show thinking

Data for instruction, students, or curriculum

Effectiveness of instructional practice

Implement common instructional methods or techniques with an activity or assessment to measure effectiveness. A test or task using teaching styles and materials similar to instruction is instructional sensitive.

Performance tasks or writing prompts generate better insight into instruction than a multiple choice assessment. Students showing thinking provides valuable insight into teaching effectiveness.

More information from student skills

Critical skills and knowledge provide a base for future learning and are necessary to move students along a learning progression.

Common formative assessments do not have to be formal, just designed to show how the students apply or use their skills. In some content areas, this requires action, either writing or a presentation.

Curriculum quality or effectiveness

  • Is the curriculum is working?
  • How does it compare to the previous material for the same learning outcome?
  • Is the rigor and complexity meeting our needs?

New textbooks and material bring new resources, with little real-world data on their quality and effectiveness. Until the students and teachers use the documents, it is hard to measure their value and efficiency.

Online assessment platforms make it possible to compare current results against previous data from similar standards, and provides a baseline to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of new material.

Professional development worth

Teachers trained in new techniques implement them and administer a common assignment or assessment. This data provides feedback for benefits of future use, more training, and for professional development providers.

District program participant data

Are programs working?

  • English Learner
  • Special Education
  • Intervention
  • Afterschool

Assessment or task designed with …

  • current instructional standards
  • focus on program participants
  • administered to all students
  • perspective on effectiveness and gaps

Monitor students after intervention or support

Often students with previous performance issues have growth, are exited from intervention or support, and then return to struggling.

Do you have a system in place to monitor students that exit intervention and moved back into regular instruction?

What issues will trigger additional support for these students?

  • Low grades
  • Skills deficiencies
  • Knowledge deficiency in content areas
  • Weak aggregate performance data
  • Poor attendance