Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Problems and Possible Solutions in Non-Fiction Units

Over the last couple of weeks, I was able to participate in a district workshop with Teachers' College Staff developer, Kate Roberts and attend a TC workshop in New York on the non-fiction unit and argument writing given by Annie Taranto and Mary Ehrenworth.

Both of these days of professional were full of new ideas and strategies. I have tried to consolidate at least some of my notes into a chart of predictable problems and possible solutions, as students navigate non-fiction and summary writing.

Possible solution
Students do not recognize the main idea.
Try post its in order to have students sort and categorize more easily. Use one color for details and another for main ideas. One more color could be for the central idea.

Also, synonyms and lack of vocabulary may get in the way of students finding the main idea. Pay attention to whether students are understanding and knowing all of the key words.
Students struggle with the central idea.
Help students understand what we mean by parallel structure and help them develop parallel statements. That way, you can help them come up with an idea that you can take across structures
Students don’t recognize the voice or perspective within a non-fiction text.
Teach them to read closely the introduction and conclusion since those are places where perspectives tend to hang out.
Students miss the math component of the reading.
Non-fiction books frequently talk about percentages and statistics and some students need additional explanation.
Students are able to summarize but not interpret.
Have students read the selections with different lenses:
Technical v simple language
Vague v precise language
Overall tone or connotation
What information is included and what information is left out?
Students see themselves as experts after reading one article; they don’t see the need to explore other texts.
Create and be creative with text sets; Sharks could be a text set with dangerous animals.

*Also* TC has a great website for digital text sets where they have collected many articles, videos and books about specific topics. This is a great resource!

As always, feedback is always welcome!


  1. This is a nice idea to teach summary to students. The 300 words summary is not difficult to write we just take things as challenge and must follow the rules of summary writing.

  2. Bihar Model Paper 2022 for 12th Class Released share a huge change in the paper pattern. As per the model papers, the Students would now have 50 per cent Choice in the Model Set Paper 2022, Bihar Question Paper 2022 for Inter Exam Announced Share a huge Change in the Question Pattern. BSEB 12th Model Paper 2022 BSEB Intermediate Arts, Science, Commerce Exam will be held in two shifts, Bihar Board 12th Class Practical Exam 2022 will be held Prior to the Theory Paper in the month of January 9th, (Saturday) 2022 and January 18th, Monday 2022, Bihar Board 12th Class Arts, Science, Commerce Question Paper 2022 Pdf Available at Official Website.