Last month, I sort of endorsed the Common Core Standards’ emphasis on reading for information over reading for pleasure, i.e. non-fiction over fiction.
In reading through the Sioux Falls School District’s school improvement plans, I noticed the phrase “informational texts” appears frequently. Here are some examples of what elementary schools are doing this year to emphasize reading comprehension of informational texts:
Renberg Elementary: Primary teachers will introduce a variety of real world informational texts such as specials schedule, lunch menu, recess schedules and teach what kind of information can be found and how to access that information. Intermediate teachers will introduce and apply a variety of real world informational texts such (as) atlases, menus, phone books, dictionaries to teach what information can be found and used in real world settings.
Jefferson Elementary: K-5 teachers will integrate science and social studies content into their reading block to ensure students are exposed to and are able to comprehend informational text. The school librarian will provide lessons highlighting informational text throughout her K-5 lessons.
Last year, the state stuck some Common Core Standards questions into the Dakota STEP. According to one school’s improvement plan, reading comprehension proved to be a weakness:
Challenge Center Elementary: Students will integrate knowledge and ideas when reading and comprehending complex literary and informational text, within grade level bands, independently and proficiently. One the 2012 D STEP, this Common Core Cluster, Integration and Key Ideas, showed the greatest area of weakness. The related South Dakota standards were also shown to be weak at all grade levels.