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Informational Text: 3 Scaffolded Activities for Any Nonfiction Article

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24 task cards and 6 pages
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Looking for best instructional practices to use with informational or nonfiction texts? Meeting rigorous RI standards can be challenging when students are frustrated or disengaged. Secondary teachers can scaffold the comprehension process to help students feel confident and achieve success.

This teaching resource works with any nonfiction or informational text you select for your students. It is appropriate for periodicals, exemplar texts, speeches, and informational chapter book excerpts. Use the exercises as test prep, as part of your reading unit, as a complementary activity with a nonfiction paired text, as station activities, and more.

This nonfiction article resource contains the following activities for any nonfiction article informational text:

1. A close reading and annotation exercise. It features two options. One asks students to annotate in the margins of the text or with sticky notes. The other asks students to respond by writing their answers on the page provided. Choose the option that works best for you, depending on whether you have access to printed texts that students can mark on. This initial activity asks students to read the text more than one time and is intended to help them with basic comprehension.

2. A dice activity. This exercise can be completed individually, with pairs, or with small groups. Students will need one dice to play. The questions focus on reading comprehension and analysis at varying depth of knowledge levels. It encourages students to comb through the text again, reflecting on what they understand and enhancing their original thoughts.

3. 24 task cards that function as discussion or writing prompts. An answer sheet is provided, but students can also choose to express their thoughts or type them. These task cards focus on more analytical, higher-order thinking about the text. Some questions require creativity. All require critical thinking. Teachers may choose a handful to use as a carousel or collaborative activity, or you may decide to use all of them.

This teaching tool contains three, scaffolded activities for any nonfiction article, not the informational texts and nonfiction articles themselves. Newsela, Common Lit, the New York Times Upfront, or the texts suggested as Common Core exemplars are a great place to start.

Due to the complexity of the questions, these activities are recommended for high school or advanced junior high students. Each exercise takes approximately one 45-minute class period to complete.

NOTE: This resource is also included in a larger bundle, Reading Literature and Informational Texts Graphic Organizer Activity Bundle.

If you find this product useful, make sure to check out these similar reading comprehension tools:

Analyzing Texts Bundle

Summarizing Nonfiction Texts Mini-Unit

Reading Comprehension Task Cards

Body Farms Nonfiction Podcast Listening Guide

And more here!

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Total Pages
24 task cards and 6 pages
Answer Key
Does not apply
Teaching Duration
3 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness, or beauty of the text.
Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).


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