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Reading: Informational Text—Grades 9-10
The Ugly Duckling Standards
In the high school English classes that we grew up with, most of us read novels, novels, an occasional poem, and more novels. But those English classes are no longer making the cut. Students nowadays leave behind their secondary education knowing how to read everything: novels, poems, blogs, political manifestos, how-to manuals, research papers, and so on. And your English classroom has to be the place for them to learn the ins and outs of all these texts.
As much as we English teachers don’t want to admit it, poetry and classic literature are put on the backburner for most non-English majors in college. The focus in most courses becomes non-fiction and technical writing. So, buckle down and get ready to give the Ugly Duckling Standards some attention to make sure your students can read a little bit of everything.
For each standard, we’ve given suggestions for a basic application of the standard (HATCHLING LEVEL) and an advanced teaching idea (TAKE FLIGHT). You can adjust these activities based on your students’ levels.
If teaching non-fiction or informational texts is not yet part of your current curriculum, here are two general strategic suggestions:
1: Create an entire non-fiction unit and hit the standards for a continuous chunk of time. It doesn’t have to be boring! Pull in current events and controversial issues to liven up the discussion.
2: If you don’t have time for an entire non-fiction unit, supplement each novel, short story, or poem with non-fiction texts in order to give students insight into the time periods or social issues that are relevant to your core text.