Nonfiction Comprehension Strategies

01 March 2013
Want to see my newest favourite resource??

Texts and Lessons for Content-Area Reading by Harvey Daniels and Nancy Steineke.  A coworker bought this book last year and I was intrigued.  The other day when I was putting in (another) Amazon order, I decided it add it to my list.  Last Friday when I arrived home from school the little brown box with the smile on the side was waiting for me with all these goodies inside:

The Texts and Lessons books is PERFECT for those of you trying to incorporate more nonfiction resources into your language program.  I think the reading level is best for grades 6 - 8, maybe even 7 - 10 ... I don't think my grade fives could have handled this at the beginning of the year, but they're handling quite well right now (I'm pretty proud of my proficient little readers).  I do have a few struggling readers in grade 5 and I have paired them up with a more proficient reader while they read the article.  So far, so good.   

Each reading strategy (and full lesson) is paired with an interesting nonfiction article (we've done two so far).  This week we studied and discussed the strategies of  "Turn and Talk" and "Read with a Question in Mind".  Each time we have discussed the strategy first - tried it out, read the article, applied the strategy, wrote our findings on a sticky note, and then posted the strategy and our sticky notes on our reading strategy bulletin board.   The students are really enjoying the articles, and it's spurning some great "grand conversations" in the classroom.  We've also turned the strategy into an "if / then" statement (see pictures below) and have written about them in our strategy notebook (see first picture in this post).  I really like the fact that my students really have to THINK and work hard to comprehend the articles - when the reading is too easy, I don't think they really see the benefit of applying the comprehension strategies.  They're definitely thinking with these articles - and USING the comprehension strategies to help them.  

This book has been a great addition to our study of the CAFE strategies.  SO happy I finally purchased it!

Happy, Happy, Happy Friday!!!  (Yes, making it to Friday deserved three "happy"s this week).



  1. Jen~ So funny that you posted about this today. I spent the day at a Lucy Calkins conference and picked up this book. It looked like a good one, but Calkin's Common Core book intrigued me more. I put the Daniels book on my "wishlist." I have his book on Reading mini lessons... VERY GOOD!

    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

    1. I'll have to take a peek at Lucy Calkins' resource - haven't seen it yet. I have Daniels' book on Inquiry Circles - comprehension and collaboration - and I used it quite a bit last year.

  2. You may want to check out as well! Great online resource. Jen

  3. I love when I see the box with the smile on the side.

    Thanks for the book suggestions - I will check them out. Your anchor charts and simple and to the point - nice!

    Learning in the Little Apple

  4. I wonder if they make that book for the lower grades? I def don't think my 4th graders could handle, but I'm always looking for more nonfiction resources!
    ideas by jivey

  5. :) Each time I visit your blog I feel like I just went to a mini-professional development! (not that your ideas are small, quite the opposite, it's just I can read them in a few minutes in pjs!!). I love how, as always, there are so many strategies embedded into each part of your students' learning.

    I am very interested in this book...I have a very high tier of readers this year and this sounds like a great resource. What you said is just so true...when the nonfiction reading is relatively easy, those comprehension strategies aren't as important to my students, since they readily understand the text.

    Thank you, my mini-professional development coach!!!!! :)

  6. I second Kristen! Such a plethora of knowledge!

    Teaching non-fiction is such a difficult task for me, so I LOVED this post. I am always searching for more non-fiction stuff to help me, so I am about to go order these books now! I especially love the if-then strategy. This could really be used for anything in my room! THANK YOU for such awesome ideas!!!

    Young Teacher Love 5th Grade Blog

  7. Oooo this looks like a great addition to my resources, thanks for sharing!!
    Miss McTeacher

  8. I love love love your amazing ideas! I notice you ordered the Jump math books. Are you teaching that program in class? And if so do you use it in combination with another math program or on its own? I went to a short training presentation on it and I don't know how to incorporate it with the other resources I have so I'm wondering if I should try it on its own.