The purpose of the text you are reading right now is to gain
information. In fact, most of the text adults read is nonfiction in
order to answer questions or gather information. Half of the passages
students read in fourth grade on the National Assessment of Education
Progress is now informational text. The new Common Core Standards place
reading informational text as a top priority. Washington School for
Comprehensive Literacy has embarked on a building goal to have at least
50% of the reading students do in the elementary grades to be done with
nonfiction texts. To help the teachers begin to reach that goal for
their students, the school has recently used funds from the School of
Recognition Grant awarded last year to bring educator and consultant
Linda Hoyt to the school, September 28-30, 2011.
For two days, Hoyt demonstrated comprehension strategies that helped
students extract information from nonfiction texts. The strategies were
from her book Make It Real: Strategies for Success with Information
Text. Teachers met in grade-level clusters of K-1, 2-3, and 4-5 while
Linda presented the strategies to Washington students in their
classrooms while the teachers completed an observation protocol.
Following each demonstration, the teachers met with Hoyt to review their
observations and ask questions for clarification. For example, Hoyt
demonstrated the comprehension strategy she titled V.I.P. (Very
Important Points) for helping students determine important facts in a
nonfiction passage. Determining importance is an important
comprehension strategy that can be used with students as young as in
kindergarten. Students across the school are now using the V.I.P.
strategy in reading workshop and content workshop.
(above) Presenter Linda Hoyt presents strategies to students.
(above) Two Washington teachers work together during the session.
On the third day of her visit, Linda Hoyt led an all-day professional
development session for teachers. By the end of this experience,
teachers had a large number of reading strategies ready to use with
students, theoretical background to support the strategies, and an
action plan for implementation at each grade level. She will return in
April for another three days to support the school in teaching
informational writing to students.
(above) Washington teachers work collaboratively as part of a training on non-fiction reading comprehension strategies for students.
L to R: Amy Luedtke, Kirsten Thiel, Karin Bulkow (foreground)
Linda Hoyt has many years of experience teaching in elementary
classrooms. She has worked as a reading specialist, a staff developer, a
curriculum specialist, and a Title I Coordinator. She especially enjoys
creating environments where children engage as active participants in
the learning process. She is from Portland, Oregon, and has written
twenty-four books on teaching. More information on Hoyt can be obtained
by visiting her website at www.lindahoyt.com. Learn more about the
school by visiting www.sheboygan.k12.wi.us/washington or by calling
Principal Karl Bekkum at 920-459-3661.