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Connect to Comprehension

Paired Informational Text

We as educators have known for a long time that we must expose our students to both fiction (narrative) and non-fiction (expository) texts.  The Common Core Standards continue to stress the importance for students understanding the structure of both text types and for being able to read and comprehend both with increasing proficiency.

Struggling readers as well as grade-level readers need instruction and practice with nonfiction text (more recently referred to as informational text).  Using informational text in an intervention reading program can provide for increased engagement, help students understand the specific structure and elements of this genre, and support an inquiry approach to content knowledge.  In fact, explicit instruction and multiple opportunities to interact with informational text are particularly useful for students who are struggling with reading comprehension.  For more information on the research which supports use of informational text, visit the following link from the University of North Carolina’s LEARNNC program:

The Connect to Comprehension program uses paired informational text articles to accomplish these goals.  After students have read a fiction story and have learned the vocabulary, structure and other skills within the story, they read a short informational text article on a topic introduced in the story.  For example, after reading A Brave Act, focusing on the rescuing of a family from a burning building, students read “How to Stay Safe in a Fire”.

This pairing allows students to examine the differences in the text structures, learn common vocabulary, and differentiate factual information from story elements.  As with the narrative stories, explicit instruction is provided along with student practice.  Skills taught and practiced with the nonfiction articles include predicting, fact recall, making inferences, determining main ideas. summarizing, cause/effect, compare/contrast, and sequencing of events. 

Graphic organizers such as timelines and Venn diagrams are also provided as supports for learning these critical skills. These specially developed articles are also decodable, so that students continue to read and practice the skills they have learned at each level of CtoC.