This resource contains original content from the Texas Adolescent Literacy Academies: Focus on Writing (TALA Writing) professional development. Any handout numbers refer to the original handouts from TALA Writing. This resource also contains other content for using writing and reading to support learning in the content areas with a focus on English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
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This section explores ways to introduce students to different text types. The English Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (ELAR TEKS) for grades 6 through 8 describe four of the major text types commonly used across content areas.
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Expository is the most common text type or genre used in science, mathematics, and social studies textbooks and classrooms; literary and narrative texts dominate the English language arts curriculum. However, to enhance content knowledge, students should be introduced to a much wider range of text genres. Content area teachers should include the same variety of texts and materials that experts in their field use such as literary, expository, and persuasive articles and books in both paper and electronic forms. This exposure benefits not only students, but also teachers—teachers begin to change how they read, write, and think about their content.
Locate the Text Types handout from the packet and have it available for use.
Review the common genres and specific types of text starting on page 1 of the handout. Select a text you currently use in your instruction. Using the handout, identify the genre and text type of your selected text.
Next, look closely at the next section of the handout, Common Text Structures. Keep in mind that authors rarely use just one kind of structure or pattern in their writing.
Use the key words in the middle column of this section to identify the text structures within your selected text. Using the examples in the right column as a guide, develop a writing topic or assignment you can use with your students to reinforce or extend content learning. Write it in your teaching journal.
Read the following prompts and jot down your thoughts in your teaching journal.
- How do you currently teach different text types?
- Do you prompt students to discuss a text and debate what type of text it is? How do you (or could you begin to) provide these types of opportunities?
- Why is it important to read and write a variety of text types throughout the year?
One instructional tool that helps content area teachers integrate a variety of texts is the inquiry chart, or I-chart. This strategy promotes critical thinking and integrates different perspectives and information from more than one text or source.
Please locate the Reading Like a Writer: I-Charts and Mentor Texts handout from the packet. Review the handout and plan a lesson that uses an I-chart to do the following:
- Incorporate mentor texts to help your students transfer what they learn to their own content area writing
- Gather and organize information for an informational essay or research-related project
Write your plan in your teaching journal.