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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Common Core Reading: Informational Text Standard 8

College and Career Readiness Standard for Reading 8 (CCRA.R.8) was created especially for informational text. It states: "Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning, as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence."

Third graders (RI.3.8) are asked to "describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence)." It's time for them to start looking critically at text to determine which structure was used by the author. Building this into each nonfiction reading experience during the year will guarantee that students are ready for the next step in their progress toward evaluating claims made in informational texts.

In fourth (RI.4.8) and fifth (RI.5.8) grades, students must  "explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support points in a text," with fifth graders identifying specific reasons and evidence support that support a claim. Determining main points (or main ideas) in informational texts, such as social studies and science books, then identifying the supporting details will give students plenty of practice with this skill. Try simple graphic organizers like this to help them get started.

Higher order questions naturally follow exercises such as this. You might ask:
  • Why did the author include these points?
  • What other points could he/she have included?
  • Why do you think these points were excluded here?
  •  How could this argument be strengthened?
  • Is this argument valid? Why or why not?

Students in these grades are ready to read with a critical eye and realize that not all written words should be taken at face value.