Using Non-Fiction Text to Increase Reading Comprehension

Since most states have included a much heavier emphasis on using non-fiction text (also known as informational text) in state ELA standards,  finding good sources of non-fiction text  absolutely essential.

Wonderopolis Provides Non-Fiction Texts

One excellent place for good non-fictional text of all types is Wonderopolis.

This site, created by the National Center for Family Literacy, was named by Time Magazine as one of the top 50 websites of the year.

Every day, Wonderopolis provides a new “wonder of the day” question that students can explore. The site includes a video about the topic, key information,vocabulary terms that are important to the text,  thought-provoking questions.

There is even a clue about the next wonder of the day to promote anticipation and student interest.

Some examples of recent questions are: Do Dragonflies Breath Fire? Where is the Hottest Place on Earth? and  How Hot is Lukewarm?  Students can chose to read about topics such as Animals, Oceans, Presidents, Space and many other wonderful topics on the site.  It is definitely a must-visit site for teachers.

News ELA as a Source for Non-Fiction Text

Another excellent source of non-fictional or informational text is Newsela. On this prolific website, you will find informational articles that work well for ELA, Science and Social Studies content.

They have recently added a new section providing relatable and accessible content and activities that support Social-Emotional learning.

This resource has grouped articles written at various Lexile levels that can help students easily expand their knowledge about such topics as Hurricanes and their impact, current events such as the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and even current sporting events such as the Olympics and other major sporting events.

Teachers can access both a free version as well as a paid version that gives teachers the ability to assign articles to their students and monitor comprehension. Articles can also be found in Spanish.

Girl reading a book outdoors
The More We Read – the More We Love Reading

Non-Fiction on Smithsonian Tween Tribune

Another outstanding source of non-fictional informational text is the Smithsonian Tween Tribune. Teachers can search for articles by grade level range to find interesting articles featuring national news, odd news, as well as topics that appeal to students of all ages.

Teachers can also search for interesting articles by Lexile level to meet student reading skills.

The website is a free resource for teachers and offers weekly lesson plans, critical thinking questions and a weekly video for classroom use.

The website is easy to use and provides a wealth of relevant texts that students will enjoy reading. Teachers can assign specific stories even from their phone.

Non-Fiction Texts from Common Lit

Another helpful source of high quality non-fiction text material is CommonLit. Teachers can explore resource texts by book, genre, grade level or even by themes. Spanish texts are also available for student use.

Teachers have the ability to monitor student progress. Some materials are free while others are available with a paid subscription.

Some examples of themes that students can explore through text groups include Growing up, friendship and family, honor and courage and social pressures to name just a few.

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