Knowledge of text type helps children organize their thoughts when receiving, retelling or reporting on a particular reading. Children unaware of text types may become confused or include unnecessary details in reports or retellings of a read aloud. Knowledge of text type aids reading comprehension and assists children in compartmentalizing texts. Explicit instruction of text type is vital to understanding how letters form words, words form sentences and sentences form paragraphs and they form meaning.
- Choose one theme upon which to focus (e.g. membership/solidarity).
- Choose a variety of materials, including photographs, magazine pictures, maps and Perspectives central texts about your chosen topic.
- Read aloud (or display) the central texts and other materials you chose in step two.
- Prompt students with questions about the characteristics of each text type. What similarities do they notice? What differences?
- Using their responses, create a text type chart together, identifying the characteristics of each text.
- Reference the chart each time the text type is revisited
English language learners
This strategy defines characteristics of texts prior to the read aloud so English language learners can focus on comprehension instead of the text type. English language learners benefit from the discussion that takes place among classmates to come to consensus on how the text type influences the text’s purpose. Verbalizing thoughts (as well as listening to the viewpoints of others) provides a context for understanding textual meaning.
Connection to anti-bias education
Pre-reading instruction that identifies characteristics of text type helps level the playing field for all children. Regardless of their prior level of exposure to texts, all students can approach the read aloud with the same background information, which creates an equitable environment where all children can learn. Children’s awareness of text types will help them notice important details regarding who is and who is not represented in the text and increase critical reading comprehension skills.