|Math textbook passages|
|Science textbook passages|
|Social studies textbook passages|
|Informational text on state assessments|
|Narrative passages on state assessments|
|Letters to the editor|
|Directions for appliances|
|Credit card bills|
|The scroll on CNN and other news channels|
|Most of the passages on the PSAT, SAT, and GRE|
Then read the rest of this post. What did you notice? Yep, virtually all are nonfiction except the one already labeled “F.” Narrative passages on tests could be fiction, but they are often personal narratives—that is, nonfiction. Anything else? Well, we hope news scrolls are nonfiction. But sometimes you wonder.
The point here should be obvious: most of the reading we do in the real world is nonfiction. Yet in language arts classes, where teachers are most directly responsible for teaching reading, students have traditionally read mostly stories, plays, or poems. Not nonfiction.
This explains why the Common Core State Standards have put more emphasis on nonfiction. In future posts, we’ll look at both how to weave more nonfiction into your teaching and also how to teach key critical reading skills (such as inferring main idea) while reading literature.
*This entry is adapted from a chapter in The Literacy Cookbook, which is available for pre-order HERE.