The allure of non-fiction

Today I would like to share one of the non-fiction “Read-Aloud” texts from a series that I have been developing for intermediate students. This particular text is about the natural world; what unites all of the texts in this series is that they focus on a non-fiction topic and can be read fairly quickly (under five minutes).

Click on the image to see a twelve minute video of me teaching this text to a student that I tutor online. In a larger class I alter the approach slightly (described below), but it is still a fairly quick process. I want to stress that these are not long readings. Each pass can be done in 4-5 minutes so that the entire activity is finished within 15 minutes. Read it, enjoy it, and move on!

I think this series will be really useful to work with intermediate classes in second semester. I will be adding to the series throughout Winter Break so that there will be enough readings to do one per week, all short and sweet, for the rest of the school year. Here is the link to download the reading that appears in the video (available to everyone). Members of the CI Master Class have access to the entire series here (or look under the ‘Voices of Others” module for link #7, the non-fiction text series). Non-subscribers can join the CI Master Class by following this link.

Spanish teachers: I have recently added Alvaro Soler’s song “Sofia” to the Musical Transition Games in the CI Master Class. Look under “Rock & Pop”.

As you’ll see in the video above, I follow a three stage process to read these texts: (1) I read aloud without pausing, (2) I read the text aloud again, answering questions, and (3) students develop questions that either I answer (for a small class) or I ask a student to answer (for a larger class).

In a large class I’ll have the student roster printed out ahead of time and I check off when a student either volunteers to ask a question or answer a question. I require that all students either ask or answer in that last section of the lesson, which encourages a certain amount of engagement without requiring written comprehension questions at the end. I usually take it upon myself to answer the “why” questions or anything that I think my students will struggle with. If there is something left unsaid at the end of the Q&A period, I will ask the last question.

These are quick and interesting readings, many simplified from texts that I created for my AP classes and now appropriate for levels 2 and 3.

Happy reading!