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Why is Informational Text Reading Comprehension Important?

 Posted by on December 23, 2019  Behind the Scenes of StarrMatica, Content Recommendations, Reading Resources, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Why is Informational Text Reading Comprehension Important?
Dec 232019
 

It sounds like a silly question if you are a teacher.  We know students need to understand what they read, but maybe you haven’t stopped to really think about the question in awhile.  It may seem counterintuitive, but just because your students read fluently doesn’t mean they understand what they read.  This is a dangerous pitfall, because if we hear a student reading fluently, we often assume they are a good reader.

Assessing reading comprehension is further complicated when students who are able to comprehend fiction passages, may not be comprehend informational texts. Literary passages simply do not require the same set of comprehension skills as informational texts.

This issue of comprehending informational texts was identified in 1993 when researchers found “nearly 44 million American adults cannot extract even a single piece of information from a written text if any inference or background knowledge is required” (Levy, 1993). Not much since 1993 has happened to address the issue. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders can only read at or below a basic level according to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (The Nation’s Report Card, 2015).  Researchers have even identified a “fourth grade slump” they attribute to issues with comprehending informational text (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006; Chall & Jacobs, 2003; Sanacore & Palumbo, 2009).

It is no surprise success in school, career and society depends on a student’s ability to comprehend informational text (Duke 2004).  But did you know, increasing a child’s ability to comprehend informational text also increases overall reading achievement (Duke, 2004)?  Did you know, reading informational texts increases a child’s background knowledge and background knowledge accounts for as much as 33 percent of the variance in student achievement (Marzano, 2000)?  And did you know, a major predictor of overall student achievement is the ability to use comprehension strategies during content area reading (Duke, 2003b; Hall & Sabey, 2007; Vacca et al., 2009)?  These are some of the reasons why the writers of the Common Core recommend increasing the instructional time spent with informational text during elementary school from 10% to 50% (Coleman, 2011).  Is 50% of your reading instructional time spent with informational texts?  Probably not.  I know as a fourth grade teacher, I didn’t meet this goal for a variety of reasons including not enough access to informational texts and the inability of students to independently read the texts I did have in my classroom.

So, what can you do to help your students with informational text comprehension?  Not only does comprehending informational text require a different set of strategies for students than when reading fiction, it also requires a different set of strategies for teachers:

  • Students need to be proactively taught to identify and understand informational text features first and foremost (Bamford & Kristo, 1998).
  • Students benefit from learning multiple comprehension strategies while they are reading (McKeown et al., 2009).
  • The more informational texts a student reads, the better their ability to comprehend text (Brenner & Hiebert, 2010). 
  • Informational texts should be carefully integrated into the curriculum (Strauss, 2010).
  • Informational texts should be matched to the student’s reading level (Lennon, C. & Burdick, H., 2004).

Frustrated with the lack of informational text resources, we decided to come up with a new solution based on research to help teachers with informational text instruction.  StarrMatica Texts: Science Your Way is a library of customizable informational texts written specifically to address the Next Generation Science Standards. StarrMatica Texts: Science Your Way helps teachers access and integrate informational texts into their curriculum during ELA or science instructional time. Unique to our resource, texts can be adjusted to a student’s individual reading level, so all students can read the same text. Corresponding comprehension instructions are taught throughout the text and Common Core-aligned quiz questions are provided as well.

We are excited about StarrMatica Texts: Science Your Way and will keep you updated on our progress through upcoming blogs. Please visit our website or contact us directly to learn more.

3-6 ELA Manipulatives

 Posted by on October 12, 2017  Content Recommendations, Reading Resources  Comments Off on 3-6 ELA Manipulatives
Oct 122017
 

Here are five pieces of digital content a teacher might choose from StarrMatica’s library to use ELA manipulatives to help students develop concepts and demonstrate their understanding.

oct1Exploring Onomatopoeia

Create onomatopoetic words to describe each sound you hear.

 

oct2Persuasion Map

Plan a persuasive essay using this online persuasion map.

 

oct4Character Trading Cards

Create your own character trading cards.

 

oct3Myths Brainstorming Machine

Use this Myths Brainstorming Machine to help you write a myth of your own.

 

oct5

Create Your Own Comic Strip

Create your own printable comic strip!

How do you use ELA manipulatives in your classroom?

K-2 ELA Manipulatives

 Posted by on September 5, 2017  Content Recommendations, Reading Resources  Comments Off on K-2 ELA Manipulatives
Sep 052017
 

Here are five pieces of digital content a teacher might choose from StarrMatica’s library to use ELA manipulatives to help students develop concepts and demonstrate their understanding.

sept1Foam Phonemes

Shoot letters and word parts into the air.  Then, create words in the sky with what you have chosen.

 

sept2CVC Maker

Switch word beginnings and endings to create words.

 

 

sept3Writing Repeater

Write letters and words with this writing repeater.  Then, play back what you have written.

 

sept4Flip Book

Create a flip book to demonstrate your knowledge of cause and effect, fact and opinion, summarizing, or sequencing.

 

sept5Letter and Number Formation

Learn how to write letters and numbers by watching and following examples.

How do you use ELA manipulatives in your classroom?

December Friday Favorites – ELA Resources

 Posted by on January 2, 2017  Content Recommendations, Reading Resources  Comments Off on December Friday Favorites – ELA Resources
Jan 022017
 

monsterEach Friday on Facebook and Twitter, we share a curated digital resource from our library that is one of our favorites.  In December, we focused on ELA resources.  Here’s what we shared:

Persuasion Map

Students map out their argument for a persuasive essay or debate.
http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/persuasion_map/

Storyline Online

Check out this amazing source for stories read aloud online.
http://www.storylineonline.net/

Exploring Onomatopoeia

Create onomatopoetic words to describe each sound you hear.
http://rwtinteractives.ncte.org/preview_mg.aspx?id=736&title=

Digital Content for Common Core Standard 2.MD.D.10

 Posted by on December 6, 2016  Common Core, Content Recommendations, Reading Resources  Comments Off on Digital Content for Common Core Standard 2.MD.D.10
Dec 062016
 

One of the most common questions we are asked is how our library of digital content supports the Common Core.  The easy answer is that our entire library has been aligned to the Common Core standards, so teachers can find resources related to each standard.  The more complex answer is that there are many pieces of content that can be used in flexible ways to support each individual standard, and it is up to teachers to choose the content that best supports their lesson and their students.

Here are five pieces of digital content a teacher might choose from StarrMatica’s library to support and enhance the teaching of: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.D.10 Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information presented in a bar graph.

30Create a Bar Graph

Students can create and print a bar graph of data they have collected.

 

 


animal-islandAnimal Island Bar Graph

Select Hard to help Molly read a bar graph. Choose Really Hard to help Molly answer questions about a bar graph.

 

 

32Create a Picture Graph

Students can create and print a picture graph of data they have collected.

 

bugsBugs in the System

Help the Cybersquad clean up the infection of nasty bugs by using the bugs to create a bar graph.

 

 

34The Data Bank

Students gather data, organize data, and display data while working for a business in this realistic game.

May Friday Favorites

 Posted by on May 30, 2016  Content Recommendations, Reading Resources  Comments Off on May Friday Favorites
May 302016
 

Each Friday on Facebook and Twitter, we share a curated digital resource from our library that is one of our favorites.  Here’s what we shared in May:

Student with writer’s block?  Check out these story starters:storystarter

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/story-starters/

Need some end of the year fun?  Try creating these paper critters:

http://www.papercritters.com/pc.php

Use the assets in the national archives to create a poster, movie, or pathway challenge:

http://www.digitalvaults.org/#/create

Looking for some end of the year fun?  Create an animated movie!

http://zimmertwinsatschool.com/movie/create

January Friday Favorites

 Posted by on February 1, 2016  Content Recommendations, Reading Resources  Comments Off on January Friday Favorites
Feb 012016
 

Each Friday on Facebook and Twitter, we share a curated digital resource from our library that is one of our favorites.  Here’s what we shared in January:

Create words with these floating letters and word parts:foam

http://www.ictgames.com/foamPhonemes/index.html

Two challenging word creation games:

http://www.teacherled.com/resources/vowels/vowelsload.html

For our StarrMatica members:  Maria’s Word Challenge

word challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great word creation game:

http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/construct/index.html

Create words with word wheels:

http://www.crickweb.co.uk/assets/activities/ww2.swf

Digital Content for Common Core Standard 3.MD.C.6

 Posted by on October 14, 2015  Common Core, Content Recommendations, Reading Resources  Comments Off on Digital Content for Common Core Standard 3.MD.C.6
Oct 142015
 

One of the most common questions we are asked is how our library of digital content supports the Common Core.  The easy answer is that our entire library has been aligned to the Common Core standards, so teachers can find resources related to each standard.  The more complex answer is that there are many pieces of content that can be used in flexible ways to support each individual standard, and it is up to teachers to choose the content that best supports their lesson and their students.

Here are five pieces of digital content a teacher might choose from StarrMatica’s library to support and enhance the teaching of: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.C.6 Measure areas by counting unit squares (square cm, square m, square in, square ft, and improvised units).

35Geoboard

Students create shapes on a geoboard and find their areas.

 

 

36Airlines Builder

Students use their knowledge of perimeter and area to build airliners and launch ships.

 

37Zoo Mapping Units

Students find the area of each zoo habitat by counting squares and half squares. (Some perimeter and volume questions are also included.)

 

38Area Explorer

Students count squares to find the area of each shape.

 

 

39Paving Slabs Problem

Students use their knowledge of area to solve a realistic paving slabs problem.

 

August/September Friday Favorites

 Posted by on September 30, 2015  Content Recommendations, Math Resources, Reading Resources  Comments Off on August/September Friday Favorites
Sep 302015
 

Our Friday Favorites series launched at the beginning of the school year.  Each Friday on Facebook and Twitter, we share a curated digital resource from our library that is one of our favorites.  Here’s what we shared in August and September:

* Two of our favorite virtual manipulative collections – perfect for exploring math concepts with IWBs, laptops, and tablets: http://www.glencoe.com/sites/common_assets/mathematics/ebook_assets/vmf/VMF-Interface.html

http://media.emgames.com/em-v2/eToolkit/eTools_v1.swfletter formation

* Awesome interactive for learning to write the alphabet – so many options!

http://www.doorwayonline.org.uk/letterformation.html

* A nice online way to alphabetize word wall words:

http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/alphabet_organizer/

* One of our favorite StarrMatica K-2 place value games – Picking Apples (in tens and ones)

packing apples

 

 

 

 

 

and a noisy favorite for working with base ten blocks:

http://www.learningbox.com/Base10/BaseTen.html

*  We love this place value challenge that really makes kids think and plan:

http://education.jlab.org/placevalue/

*  A way to help visual learners with the concept of compare and contrast:

http://pbskids.org/toopyandbinoo/index.php?ID=MAGC1JEU2

and for our StarrMatica members a Find the Differences Game:

comparing

Digital Content for Common Core Standard RI.4.2

 Posted by on September 15, 2015  Common Core, Content Recommendations, Reading Resources  Comments Off on Digital Content for Common Core Standard RI.4.2
Sep 152015
 

One of the most common questions we are asked is how our library of digital content supports the Common Core.  The easy answer is that our entire library has been aligned to the Common Core standards, so teachers can find resources related to each standard.  The more complex answer is that there are many pieces of content that can be used in flexible ways to support each individual standard, and it is up to teachers to choose the content that best supports their lesson and their students.

Here are five pieces of digital content a teacher might choose from our library to support and enhance the teaching of: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.2  Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

ladders

 

Firefighter Students practice discriminating between a main idea and supporting details.

 

big idea

 

What’s the Big Idea? Students practice finding the main idea of a paragraph.

 

 

details

Supporting Details Students determine the details that best support the paragraph.

 

newspaper

 

Newspaper Headlines Students write newspaper headlines that will tell the main idea of an article.

 

 

main idea

What’s the Main Idea? Students learn how to find a main idea with this slide show and then practice what they have learned.