Table of Contents

1.3 Reading Informational Text in all Content Areas

Time to Read

Read the following three excerpts on the importance of informational text.

Reading Achievement Gap between Literature and Informational Texts

The 2001 and 2006 Progress in International Reading Literacy (PIRLS) study compared the reading achievement of fourth-grade students from 35 nations and examined their abilities to read literature and to read informational texts. The 2001 study found that students from the United States had the largest achievement gap, favoring literature, of all of the nations. By 2006, that gap narrowed only slightly.  University of Michigan Professor Nell K. Duke attributes this gap to students’ lack of exposure to and experience with informational texts in elementary schools (Duke 2010).  In college and the workplace, non-fiction makes up the vast majority of required reading.

Background Knowledge

Background knowledge has also long been connected to comprehension and reading informational text from all content areas is essential in building this background knowledge (Fisher and Frey, 2009). The CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy demand that students work on literacy in all the content areas to build their understanding of the content being studied.

Importance of Informational Text

The importance of reading and writing informational text is displayed most prominently in the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy in two ways. 1) At every grade level, there are a set of standards for informational text and a set of standards for literature. 2) For example, beginning in grade 2, Reading Informational Text Standards 3 and 10 call for students to read a wide range of informational text in all subject areas:

CA.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.3: Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.

CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.10: By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Time to Extend

For a further examination of Reading Informational Text in the CCSS, review the CCSS ELA: Reading Informational Text Professional Learning Module