Reading and Writing Informational Texts While Exploring Soil
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Many students struggle with comprehending informational texts (Duke, 2004; Hall, Sabey, & McClellan, 2005; Stafford et al., 2005; Marinak & Gambrell, 2008; Read et al., 2008; Duke, 2010). Informational texts are particularly difficult to comprehend because they contain complex ideas and information that not only is usually unfamiliar to the reader (Williams et al., 2009), but is organized into different text structures such as description, sequence, compare and contrast, problem and solution, and cause and effect. Adding to the difficulty, the information in many informational books is often organized using a combination of these text structures (Stafford et al., 2005). This project addresses the difficulties associated with reading and writing informational texts. Also, it includes a curriculum unit demonstrating how such texts can be integrated into a grade 3 science unit on soil. It is written for elementary teachers who want to learn how to better prepare their students for the many nonfiction texts they will encounter throughout their educational career and entire life. It is especially intended for teachers who tend to focus on teaching with narrative texts because that is what they are comfortable with. The research and lessons that comprise this project are meant to support teachers so that they might have a better understanding of how to teach their students to read and write informational texts and the importance of doing so.