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Reading Information-Based Texts



Our job as readers of nonfiction is to enter into that potentially messy reading as a co-constructor of meaning. Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst


Information-based texts include any kind of text designed to provide information about the world and the people in it. 


Sharing a wide variety of information-based texts in the SELA classroom creates opportunities for students to explore ideas and issues both within and outside their own experiences.


In order to make meaning of the wide range of information-based texts students need to:

  • hear information-based texts read aloud

  • have strategies for working with information-based texts modeled for them

  • have many opportunities to try out different strategies for making meaning of texts

  • have access to a variety of well written nonfiction and information-based texts

  • consider the text’s purpose and goal (to inform, persuade, argue, advise) and the reader’s purpose for reading (to acquire information, to understand a stance on an issue, to be entertained, etc.)

  • explore the different text structures present in information-based texts

  • explore the impact of the text features such as headings, subheadings, bold fonts, leads, captions, sidebars, photographs, and consider the impact they have on the reading experience

  • create a bank of strategies available such as chunking the information, re-reading, asking questions of the text and/or making connections

  • have opportunities to write and produce a variety of information-based texts for authentic purposes.


Information-Based Texts Genre Study 

An interesting way to immerse students in information-based texts is to have them explore the ways these texts differ from other text genres. Provide a selection of different information-based texts (articles, biographies, literary nonfiction, graphic memoirs, etc.) and invite student to read and discuss the conventions found in these texts.



Book lists can be saved and shared with others. Information on other information-based texts can be found on the Quebec Reading Connection website.


Additional Resources

Listen to high school students talk about their nonfiction reading experiences on Penny Kittle’s Book Love blog.

The NY Times’ "Too Good to Be True? Considering the Reading of Nonfiction in School" lesson plan offers questions to encourage thinking about the fiction and nonfiction. 

The Key Critical Literacy Questions can be used to explore nonfiction texts. Download them here.

Kelly Gallagher’s article of the week.