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4 Helpful Ways to Teach Informational Text

Use these four ways to teach informational texts in your middle school ELA classroom.

Do you teach informational text in your middle school classroom? Sometimes, informational texts get a bad rap. Students love to read fictional stories, and it can be easy to get them to try new genres or authors, but how can we get them interested in reading informational texts and see why they’re important? 

What is informational text?   

While informational text and nonfiction are closely related, they do have subtle differences, as shown in the table below.

Informational text isn’t only what students might find in a textbook; it can be any kind of article that provides information. 

For example, informational text could include: 

  • An article on the Loch Ness Monster, dangerous spiders of North America, or the mystery of Bigfoot.
  • Articles about holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, Kwanzaa, or Lunar New Year. 
  • Informational lessons on public service announcements, commercials, and the media. 
  • Consumer awareness texts that help students understand the labels on food products, the differences in gender pricing, or whether or not makeup testers are sanitary. 

With a little creativity, you can implement informational texts into your classroom. In this blog post, I’ll discuss four ways to teach informational text in the middle school classroom. 

4 Helpful Ways to Teach Informational Text

Teach Informational Text As Cross-Curricular Assignments

Cross-curricular assignments are a great way to teach informational texts. Current events could be taught in both the language arts and social studies classrooms or science and language arts teachers can work together to teach writing hypotheses. 

Many nonfiction texts that provide factual information can be used in many different subject areas. They’re a great way to get students used to reading informational text and to help reinforce topics beyond one classroom subject. 

One quick and simple way to do this is to use an article about a specific topic. Students can choose their article from a newspaper or an online resource or be assigned one by the teacher. 

You can use articles on current events or various articles on one subject. This Current Events Assignment includes tips on how to choose articles and questions for students to answer. It also comes with a rubric for easy assessment. You can find the Current Events Assignment on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD

You could also teach informational text using Article of the Week lessons. The Article of the Week Differentiated Lessons contains 4 types of scaffolded lessons for your middle school classroom. Every week, you can assign an article for your students to read and respond to. 

Pair these lessons with any Article of the Week bundle, and you’ll be well on your way to helping your students understand how to read, analyze, and understand informational texts. You can find the Article of the Week Differentiated Lessons on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD and a huge selection of non-fiction articles to choose from—including the Article of the Week Full Year Nonfiction Bundle—on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD

Teach Informational Text On Or Around Holidays

Holidays can be an interesting time in the classroom. While many people think about family, food, decorations, and celebration when holidays are coming close, teachers think about the stress of what to do during the days before the holiday (or on the actual holiday, if it’s still a school day, such as with April Fools’ Day or Halloween). 

You have to have a plan during the holidays, or students might be distracted or too excited. But what can you do that’s holiday-centred yet still covering educational standards? 

Informational texts! You can turn each article into different stations and have students rotate through the different stations. 

The Article of the Week Holidays Around the World Bundle covers 14 holidays. The articles include the history and traditions of each holiday, along with assignments for students and a complete lesson plan for the teacher. 

This bundle includes holidays such as April Fools’ Day, Lunar New Year, Daylight Saving Time, Earth Day, Groundhog Day, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Halloween, and more. Lessons include a K-W-L chart, post-reading comprehension activities, assessments, and more. 

These articles are perfect for use with students before or during a holiday and are a great way to teach informational text. You can find the Article of the Week Holidays Around the World Bundle on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD

Teach Informational Text To Teach Consumer Awareness

We are all consumers, even our students. Different media platforms are always advertising something to us – now more than ever. It can be hard to go anywhere on the internet without seeing ads. This is why it’s important to understand consumer awareness and the strategies companies use to market their products to the consumer. You can do this when you teach informational text. 

Consumer awareness lessons cover a wide range of content areas. Students learn about marketing claims and strategies companies use to persuade consumers to buy their products and develop a deeper understanding of consumer awareness, media literacy and digital literacy.

For example, are breakfast sandwiches really healthy? Or are the ones you see advertised only healthier than the other brands? What about DNA tests—are they really as accurate as the commercials and ads tell us they are? 

Learning about consumer awareness and the media is essential for students as they develop life skills. With these Media Literacy Lesson bundles, you’ll have everything you need to get your students on the right path to understanding it. 

  • The Media Literacy Lesson Bundle 1 includes lessons on checkout charities, outlet vs. retail, breakfast sandwiches, misleading food labels, and more. You can find it on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD
  • The Media Literacy Lesson Bundle 2 includes lessons on DNA testing, composting myths, expensive shoes, food prices in Northern Canada, and more. You can find it on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD

Teach Informational Text To Help Students Understand PSAs And Commercials

Have you ever thought of the informational text in public service announcements? PSAs are a part of our daily lives, and we can use those announcements to help students learn media techniques and literacy. 

This Media Literacy Unit – Analyzing Public Service Announcements and Commercials dives deep into public service announcements to help students understand not only the literacy but also the mechanics and logistics of the PSAs. 

Students will learn about commercials versus PSAs, commercial techniques, camera shots and angles, creating a storyboard, and more. This activity can be used individually or in groups and is a fun and creative way to help students understand media uses, specifically PSAs. 

They might even come back to school telling you all about the ads they saw on TV or YouTube the night before! 

You can find the Media Literacy Unit – Analyzing Public Service Announcements and Commercials on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD

You can teach informational text in so many ways in the classroom. When students see the various ways it is used, they become more aware of it and notice it more in their daily lives. There are many creative ways you can use informational text, and I hope this article gave you some ideas on using it in the classroom.

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