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Engaging Students With Non-Traditional Texts
Posted on November 29, 2017
It is important that students are given opportunities to engage with non-traditional texts like graphic and free verse novels. Teachers can also use other forms of high-interest media such as infographics, videos, and non-fiction articles. Read this Twitter chat recap to get ideas you can use tomorrow in your English Language Arts classroom.
Question 1: Where/how do you find contemporary fiction (short stories, novels) to engage your students?
A1: CommonLit, Actively Learn, ReadWorks, 2ndaryELA FB group, Achieve the Core & google to find grade level short stories
A1: I ask my librarian at school and just Google search topics.
A2: Using Google search you can switch from”All” to “News” and then sort by how recent of an article you are looking for
A2 cont: You used to also be able to sort Google result by reading difficulty, but that feature disappeared :/
A2: NewsELA, news sites for culturally relevant connections to analyze, excerpts from non-fiction books
A2: I like to use nonfiction piece connected to the holidays as a way of “celebrating” but still learning https://t.co/WS8BWRtNJ7
A2: Finding nonfiction books for the classroom I think is an awesome way to integrate ELA into a Social Studies classroom. I would love to collaborate with ELA teachers to find books to fit my units!
Question 3: Have you tried using graphic novels or verse novels with your students? Recommendations? Experiences?
A3: I am hoping to read Love That Dog with my Grade 8’s this year.
A3: I offered Inside Out & Back Again as a book club option last yr but no takers – no graphic novels yet, but would love to
A3: I have only used picture books – not graphic novels as they are EXPENSIVE! I’d love them for my ELLs though! Maybe a grant.
A3: I have a graphic novel section in my classroom library. It is also a reading choice in my independent reading program.
A3: We teach the graphic novels American Born Chinese and The Arrival together each year. The kids love ABC (so hilarious and relevant). The Arrival has no words and is perfect for working on inferencing skills.
A3: Yes! I used graphic novels to introduce Greek mythology. We created infographics.
A3 Brown Girls Dreaming and The Crossover, both verse novels, were on our Reading Olympic list last year. My students really liked both.
Question 4: Where/how do you find appropriate videos, images, and infographics for your students to “read?”
A4: I find them on YouTube and from the educational FB groups that I’m in
A4: We use YouTube and have found some great things to use and we also have offered some PBL chances for kids to make their own pieces for our current unit (social experiments, infographics, art, poetry, etc.)
A4: I try to preview all content before I show it to my classes. I like the infographics from USA Today. I look for official YouTube channels from well-known sources.
Q5: What strategies do you use to help students read and understand non-traditional texts?
A5: Notice & Note signposts for fiction/nonfiction, fun colorful highlighters and lots of discussions. I love NewsELA for diff levels
A5: I love graphic organizers to help students capture their thinking.
A5: Model thinking aloud, teach text features, lots of practice
A5: We use some notice and note, but mostly color it up activities and deliberately pick pieces to teach how to annotate for specific components of nonfiction before annotating a piece for all aspects independently
A5: Definitely lots of discussions – maybe even a gallery walk to leave comments?
Kristy has been a classroom teacher for over 13 years teaching Grades 7 and 8. She loves sharing ideas with other teachers on her blog and through her social media channels. She's been inspiring and supporting fellow teachers through this website since 2012.