How do you help students get into reading nonfiction, informational text passages as part of a lesson plan?
The Learning Network of The New York Times has been publishing a lesson plan every day during the school year in one subject or another for several years now, and they always start with some type of activity that gets students brains focused on the topic of an article.
Those ice breakers and short activities students do before reading the informational text, are very useful. Editors of the Learning Network, all of them former teachers, have compiled those “do-nows” into 18 categories and explained how each works, providing a few examples from the lesson plans to illustrate their use.
Whether the articles are about surfing, statistics, or superheroes, many students require some kind of on-ramp to the passage. This is known as “scaffolding,” where students are introduced to a topic a little bit at a time. Once they have a reference point, the material in a New York Times article is often more accessible.