Teaching Nonfiction Reading Skills and Strategies in a Way That Gives Kids Wings and Roots

Wednesday, October 25 — Friday, October 27, 2017

Grade: 3-5
Featuring: Katie Clements, Kelly Boland Hohne, and Annie Taranto

(Please note this institute begins at 2pm on Wednesday October 25, 2017, just after the October Coaching of Writing Institute that day.)

Nonfiction reading has a place of prime importance in classrooms, not only because it’s valued for academic purposes, but because it gives kids access to the beauty and wonder of the world. However, too often, nonfiction can feel flat, and the marvel of nonfiction reading can get lost in the language of skills and strategies. Over the years, we’ve found that in the teaching of writing, having even a little bit of first-hand experience as a writer gives your teaching authenticity. One premise behind this institute is that the same can be true for nonfiction reading!

Even ten minutes of your own practice using strategies to read nonfiction texts can make your teaching more resonant and inspired. Therefore, this institute will be punctuated by opportunities to experience nonfiction reading work firsthand. Your teaching of nonfiction reading will also benefit from a study of reading skills, so you’ll have opportunities to orient yourself to texts, build up background knowledge, synthesize across texts, evaluate sources, and collaborate in clubs, all while falling in love with nonfiction authors. You’ll study how students’ skills progress as their thinking and texts become more complex, and you’ll consider critical conferences and small groups that could accelerate students’ progress relative to a given skill. There will be opportunities to self-assess where your own work—your talk, your note taking—falls, and then to consider how you can use anchor charts and learning progressions to engage students in similar self-assessment and goal-setting.

There will be a special emphasis on ways you can bring nonfiction read alouds to life, so that instead of pausing after each chunk to jot about the main idea, you communicate your passion for the genre and recruit student engagement, all while supporting critical skill development. You’ll also hear some of the Project’s latest thinking about writing about reading in nonfiction, and get tips for how to support students in writing well while still maintaining a high volume of reading. This work won’t be grounded in a single Unit of Study (though there will be workshops on grade level units). Instead, it will strengthen the teaching you do during any nonfiction reading unit or content-area unit.


$650/ $600 NYC DOE


This institute will take place at the Teachers College campus.
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 W 120th Street
New York, NY