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Unlocking Expository Text American History Foundations August 9, 2012 Fran Macko, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Unlocking Expository Text American History Foundations August 9, 2012 Fran Macko, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unlocking Expository Text American History Foundations August 9, 2012 Fran Macko, Ph.D. fmacko@aihe.info

2 Framing the Session Why are history texts often difficult for students to comprehend? What skills and strategies do students need to become expert readers of history? What can history teachers do to help struggling readers in their classrooms?

3 What factors affect the readability of history texts? Lack of prior knowledge Unfamiliar text structure or schema Difficulty identifying important material from less important material Academic vocabulary and abstract concepts (“isms”) Level of analysis and synthesis Role of visuals, such as maps, graphs and charts, as sources of information

4 What are the keys to reading history? Effective readers of history have a variety of comprehension strategies that they bring to reading a text. These strategies can be grouped in three categories: – Before reading or activation of background or prior knowledge – During reading or active engagement with the content – Continuous or metacognition Effective readers of history are in charge of the process, monitoring how they read and adjusting to ensure success.

5 Why do students struggle with expository text? Expository text makes up 90% of adult reading. Yet, students in elementary school spend an average of 4 minutes per day with expository text. As a result, students are most familiar with narrative text, and are unprepared to be effective readers of expository text. Students need to know how expository texts work, how to prepare to read them, and what to do once they begin reading. The strategies for reading expository text are often not modeled for students.

6 How do narrative and expository text differ? Narrative and expository text differ in their organizational pattern, language and purpose. Narrative text typically follows one structure or story grammar. Narrative text includes such elements as theme, plot, conflict, resolution, characters and setting.

7 Expository text explains something and reflects a variety of structures or organizational patterns: definition, cause-effect, sequence, categorization, comparison/contrast, enumeration, process, problem-solution, and description.

8 The main purpose of narrative text is to tell a story. Narrative texts have a beginning, middle and end. Students read narrative text for enjoyment, to analyze story grammar, and appreciate the author’s writing style.

9 The purpose of expository texts is to inform or describe. Expository text often reflects research on a topic. Students read expository text to gain factual information, identify main ideas and trends, and analyze divergent viewpoints on a topic, individual or event.

10 Narrative and Expository Text A Comparison Narrative Reader’s Purpose Enjoyment Interpret character Appreciate style Analyze plot Identify story grammar Critically evaluate Expository Reader’s Purpose Identify main ideas Determine trends Consider implications Identify viewpoints Interpret visuals Critically evaluate

11 Narrative Typical Language Personal and informal Diverse vocabulary Dialogue Expressive and emotive Action, humor and style Expository Typical Language Formal prose Descriptive Technical terms and concept words Visual supports

12 Narrative Typical Organization Narrative (tells a story) Genre characteristics (novel, short story, play, poem) Story grammar (setting, character, plot, climax, resolution) Expository Typical Organization Structured (sub- headings and case studies) Maps, charts and pictures Main ideas and details Chronological sequence Cause and effect

13 So…how can we help students unlock expository text structure? Understanding how a piece of text is organized helps students make sense of their reading. Each organizational structure presents distinct features and suggests questions that effective readers consider before, during and after reading. Understanding the features and elements of text supports students in their ability to navigate through the text and increases their understanding of the relationship between the concepts presented and the structure of the text. The more opportunities students have to discover and become familiar with the features of expository text, the greater their ability to become effective readers.

14 Comparing Narrative and Expository Text Structures Select two passages on the same historical topic: one narrative and one expository. Have students read each passage and consider a set of questions based on the three elements of text structure: Purpose: Why did the author write this passage? Vocabulary: What kinds of vocabulary/language does the author use? Structure: How is the text organized?

15 Modeling the Strategy

16 Modeling the Strategy: Narrative Text Read the excerpt from The Winter of Red Snow. Answer each of the following questions: Purpose: Why did the author write this piece? Vocabulary: What kinds of vocabulary/language does the author use? Structure: How is the text organized?

17 Checking for Understanding Purpose : Why did the author write this piece?

18 Vocabulary : What kinds of vocabulary words or language does the author use?

19 Structure : How is the piece organized?

20 Modeling the Strategy: Expository Text Read excerpt from: “Valley Forge Encampment- A Winter of Suffering”. Answer each of the following questions: Purpose: Why did the author write this piece? Vocabulary: What kinds of vocabulary/language does the author use? Structure: How is the text organized?

21 Checking for Understanding Purpose : Why did the author write this piece?

22 Vocabulary : What kinds of vocabulary words or language did the author use?

23 Structure : How is the piece organized?

24 Comparing Narrative and Informational Text What themes/ ideas/ concepts do both pieces share? How does the author’s choice of language and organizational structure support his/her purpose? How can the comparison of narrative and expository text support student understanding of events in history? Turn and talk with a partner.

25 Bridging the Gap: Historical Fiction and Picture Books Historical fiction and quality content picture books combine the elements of narrative and expository text. Each can be used to support students in understanding the differences between narrative and expository text.

26 Adapting Unlocking Expository Text Structure to Your Classroom How might you use the strategy of comparing narrative and expository text in your social studies classroom? What adaptations to the strategy can you make?

27 Next Steps Depending on the goal of the reading, teachers can help students better understand how expository texts work and read them more effectively by teaching them how to: –identify the text elements of a paragraph. –recognize the transitional words that signal important information or a shift in focus. –establish the organizational pattern--e.g., cause-effect, definition, persuasion –organize the information within an expository text into an outline for subsequent analysis.

28 –use available information such as subheadings to orient and focus their reading. –identify the main ideas throughout the text. –develop their own questions and apply them to the text. –take effective notes for subsequent discussions or writing assignments.

29 Final Thoughts Understanding how a piece of text is organized helps students make sense of their reading. Students need explicit instruction in understanding the differences in purpose, vocabulary and structure between narrative and expository text.

30 Understanding the features and elements of text supports students in their ability to navigate through the text and increases their understanding of the relationship between the concepts presented and the structure of the text. The more opportunities students have to discover and become familiar with the features of expository text, the greater their ability to become effective readers of history.

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