1. Students are more familiar with the information text
Duke, N.K. (2004). The case of the information text. Educational Leadership, 61 (6), 40-44.
This article focuses on informational text in the younger grades, but the ideas apply to older students as well. The article focuses on four ways to promote students’ abilities to read informational tests.
Teachers should increase students’ access to informational texts, especially those texts that students find interesting and relevant to their life. Students should also incorporate more informative text into their lessons so that students have more time to interact with those readings. The article also addresses the importance of explicit strategic education for the informational text. Finally, the author explains that the informative text should be used for authentic purposes in the classroom. That is, students must read these texts to answer the questions they have generated and want to investigate.
2. Design strategy
Leopold, C. and Leutner, D. (2012). Understanding of the scientific text: design, selection of the main idea and synthesis as learning strategies. Learning and education, 22, 16-26.
This article compares three different reading strategies: main idea selection, summary, and drawing. The authors conducted two experiments. In the first experiment, a group of students were asked to read a chemistry text and draw an image to represent each paragraph. A second group was asked to read the same text and write the main idea of each paragraph. The results of this experiment indicate that the design strategy was more effective. Students using the drawing strategy kept more information in the text because they were asked to make inferences and apply their new knowledge. In the second experiment, one group used the same design strategy described above. The second group was asked to write a summary of the text rather than simply selecting the main idea. Again, the first group of students were more successful in retaining information and understanding the big ideas in the text. This article demonstrates that a drawing strategy can be a useful tool in helping students understand informational text.
3. Rereading strategy
Hedin, L. R. and Conderman, G. (2010). Teach students to understand the information text by rereading it. The Reading Teacher, 63 (7), 556-565.
This article gives us another strategy to help students understand the informational text: reread. The authors explain that reading should be a way for students to create meaning and make connections. Many students see reading as a decoding activity and do not waste time developing comprehension while reading. If used correctly, the rereading strategy will help students deepen the information text. Teachers should select text that is reader-friendly and help students establish a purpose for reading. The authors suggest the use of KWL charts to help students with this latter task. Teachers can also help students reread by identifying important sections of the text that should be reread for understanding. Additionally, teachers should help students recognize important vocabulary and how it is defined in the text. Finally, teachers should instruct students on how to use highlights and emphasis (such as italics) in the text to help them understand the informational text.
4. Understanding the Windows strategy
Basso, M. L. and Woo, D. G. (2008). Comprehension windows strategy: a comprehension strategy and an accessory for reading and writing informational texts. The Reading Teacher, 61 (7), 571-575.
This article discusses the Windows Understanding Strategy (CWS) in detail. This strategy involves using the CWS accessory, a folded file folder with titles and sticky notes. Titles help students organize important information into a selection of text. Students should write important points on sticky notes as they read. Then they should organize the post-its under the headings of the CWS attachment. The authors of this article also provide suggestions for introducing CWS strategy in a classroom. They suggest that the teacher shapes the strategy and then slowly gives students more responsibility in using the CWS. This strategy helps students make sense of the informational text and prepares them to write a research paper or other assignment based on the informational text.