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.

Reading and Language Arts assessments

Classroom reading assessments

Passage considerations

  • Rigor and complexity appropriate for current students
  • Measure learning in the context of current instruction and content knowledge
  • Students have the background knowledge to understand reading

Passages in context with instruction and background knowledge will more accurately measure student performance. If not, the resulting data will provide insufficient insight into learning, especially for English learners and students struggling reading classroom content.

Long passages rush completion

If the reading load is too much, students will rush to finish the assessment.

Balance text complexity

A balance of grade level text complexity best measures student achievement. If a passage pushes the boundary of complexity, look for indicators within the passage to help plan future instruction. Is the reading hard, but fair and using the appropriate content matter?

Make reading worth the student’s time

The length of the passage justifies the number of items used to assess the reading

Too many items exhaust a passage.

Longer passages support more questions, but using too many items will over-burden the text. A clue for overuse is cueing, one question helps a student answer another question.

Passages support more than one standard

Appropriate vocabulary in passages and items.
The passage mix should challenge students, but not all reading has to be complex. Challenging and complex passages will lower performance for students struggling with grade level reading.