In addition to providing an expansive collection of culturally responsive non-fiction texts, Perspectives for a Diverse America offers numerous strategies and tasks that help teachers at every grade level effectively bring those texts into their classrooms. Visit www.teachperspectives.org to learn more about these strategies:
Realia: Real-life objects enable children to make connections to their own lives as they make sense of new concepts and ideas. In this strategy, teachers incorporate authentic objects related to major themes, ideas and facts in a text to help students connect with a read aloud. After the read aloud, the class discusses the objects and their connection to the text.
Making Connections During Read Aloud: Children make connections to read-aloud texts by relating the text to themselves (lived experiences), to other texts (read in any setting) and to the world (current and historical events).
Oral Interviews: Students conduct interviews and record personal experiences focused on a specific focus or theme connected to a non-fiction text. They then synthesize and present the information as a drawing, poster, paragraph or bulletin board.
Four-Fold Vocabulary: Students create and use an interactive “foldable” to learn new vocabulary. They use this tool to define, illustrate and use words in sentences based on the context within which they encounter them.
SQP2RS “Squeepers”: SQP2RS stands for survey, question, predict, read, respond and summarize. “Squeepers” ensures students recognize the steps to reading and understanding informational texts.
Fishbowl: Students participate in group discussions during which they are separated into inner and outer circles. In the inner circle, or fishbowl, students have a discussion; in the outer circle, the other students listen to the discussion and take notes.
Agree or Disagree: This prompt asks students to form an argument that agrees or disagrees with the main idea or thesis of an informational text.
Community Newsletter: Students compile a showcase of artwork and nonfiction writing addressing issues found in the central text. The end result is a visual, collaborative and creative representation of student learning, opinions and ideas.
Meaning-Making Paragraphs: Students learn the meaning of vocabulary by writing guided paragraphs about words from the non-fiction text. They then share their writing with peers.
Text-Dependent Questions: Readers must refer back to the central text to answer text-dependent questions. The approach privileges text over extraneous or prior knowledge.
Socratic Seminar: A structured discussion in which students examine issues and respond to open-ended questions about a text. In this collaborative inquiry, students use dialogue rather that debate to communicate their ideas and responses to others.
Are You Convinced?: This prompt asks students to examine the way an author addresses a given question and evaluate the strength or usefulness of her claims.
Act Up! Drama for Justice: Students write and perform a skit or monologue that builds awareness for an issue addressed in the central text.