1st Edition

Reality Checks Teaching Reading Comprehension with Nonfiction, K-5

By Tony Stead Copyright 2005

    Teaching comprehension with informational texts is a critical component of any reading program and one that many children struggle with as they progress through their schooling. Nonfiction can be overwhelming to young readers, presenting them with complex vocabulary and a new density of information that may combine text, diagrams, pictures, captions, and other devices.Reality Checks: Teaching Reading Comprehension with Non-Fiction K-5 offers insights into why children struggle when faced with informational reading, and practical concepts, skills, and strategies that help them navigate nonfiction successfully.In this book, Tony Stead provides wonderful ways to enhance children's understanding and engagement when reading for information. He outlines practical approaches to ensure all children can become confident and competent readers of nonfiction. Part one examines effective ways to teach children how to extract the information that is explicitly stated in a text. Covered are strategies such as using prior knowledge, retelling, locating specific information, and the role of nonfiction read-alouds. Part two explores interpreting information, including making connections between the text, the reader, and the outside world, making inferences and making revisions to inferences based on reflection. Part three looks at evaluating information, assisting children in developing critical reading skills, differentiating fact from opinion, locating author bias, and identifying techniques writers use to persuade readers' thinking. Part four offers an array of practical ways to reinforce and extend children's nonfiction reading skills, including working with visual information such as maps and diagrams. It also provides pre-and -post-assessment strategies, procedures for monitoring progress, curriculum planning ideas, and instruction on guided reading.

    Chapter 1: Comprehending Nonfiction: The Real Story; Part 1: Developing Literal Understandings; Chapter 2: Getting the Facts; Chapter 3: The Art of Retelling; Chapter 4: Dealing with Unknown Vocabulary and Concepts; Part 2: Developing Interpretive Understandings; Chapter 5: Inferring; Chapter 6: Making Connections; Part 3: Developing Evaluative Understandings; Chapter 7: Reading Between the Words; Chapter 8: All Those in Favor? Explorations in the Early Years; Part 4: Completing the Picture; Chapter 9: Visual Literacy: Comprehension Beyond Words; Chapter 10: Guided Reading and Assessment; Chapter 11: Providing a Framework for Teaching and Learning


    Tony Stead became a teacher because he wanted to make a difference in children's lives. And he is certainly doing that through his publications, teaching, and work with teachers all over the world. A native of Melbourne, Australia, Tony earned his master of education degree from the University of Melbourne and worked for fourteen years as a K-6 teacher in five different school settings in Melbourne. He visits the United States and Canada at least four times a year to consult in literacy education with school districts. When in Australia, he does some consulting, but spends most of his time with children and writing new publications and teacher resource materials. He believes that professional development should be hands-on, relevant, reflective, engaging, empowering. He encourages teachers to take off the teacher hat and replace it with that of the learner, and to celebrate success, no matter how small. Tony is the author of Reality Checks, Is That a Fact? and the videos Bridges to Independence and Time for Nonfiction. Before sitting down to write, he likes to spend at least one year researching. I like to write in large blocks of time so that I can totally fall into the writing and let it become part of my everyday thinking. I like to talk extensively with teachers and children prior to writing.