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HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Alaska Native Stories: Using Narrative to Introduce Expository Text

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 45-minute periods
Lesson Author

Marilyn Cook

Port Aransas, Texas

Publisher

International Reading Association

 

Overview

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

This lesson uses traditional stories of the Native peoples (i.e., narrative text) to introduce students to the study of animals in Alaska (i.e., expository text). Students use the Internet to listen to a Yu'pik tale told by John Active, a Native American living in Alaska. They also use online resources to find facts about animals in Alaska. Students compare and contrast the two types of text in terms of fiction and nonfiction. The narrative stories provide students with a context to begin studying a content area topic; this lesson emphasizes the integration of curriculum.

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

Moss, B. (1991). Children's nonfiction trade books: A complement to content area texts. The Reading Teacher, 45, 26-32.

In this article, the author identifies the limitations of content area textbooks and the advantages of nonfiction trade books. She also provides criteria for selecting nonfiction trade books and a framework for integrating the use of nonfiction trade books into content area instruction.

Five limitations of content area textbooks:

1. Often written above the level for which they were intended and use abstract, technical vocabulary

2. Often teach children about many topics in a general way with little opportunity for extensive study of a particular subject

3. Often written using an organization and style students do not readily understand (e.g., descriptive mode, lack of transitions)

4. Often unappealing and fail to arouse student interest

5. Often outdated

Five advantages of nonfiction trade books:

1. Enable teachers to more readily individualize content area reading and provide materials that are closer to students' individual reading levels

2. Use features, such as illustrations and graphics, that are more appealing to children

3. Provide in-depth information on a particular content area topic ranging from people to places to scientific processes

4. Contain information arranged more logically and coherently than in content area textbooks

5. Reflect more current information and are readily accessible to teachers through libraries and other sources

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