In the Comprehension Toolkit students explore comprehension strategies as they read short, engaging, real-world informational texts. Click here for an informational text flyer.THE SOURCE BOOK OF SHORT TEXTS The Source Book of Short Text is a collection of exemplary nonfiction text selected by Steph and Anne to support or extend each Toolkit lesson. The Source Book provides two kinds of text: Lesson Text and Nonfiction Short Text.
Each of the Toolkit’s twenty-six lessons is built around an engaging exemplary text that we’ve tested in classrooms across the country and can guarantee students find engaging. When you introduce kids to the Toolkit strategies, it’s important that you use text that naturally appeals to kids and will almost certainly captivate them. Offered in a reproducible format, the Lesson Text in the Source Book of Short Text is ideal for making transparencies or photocopies for your students. We recommend that you make overheads of this text. As you introduce the lessons, you’ll find it helpful to have the text up on a screen so your kids can easily follow along with you. Note that not all of the lesson text is included in the Source Book; for example, some of the lessons are built on picture books which you may find in your classroom or school library; if not, consider purchasing the optional Trade Book Pack. The Lesson Texts include text written and designed especially for kids, including kids magazine articles, an Internet article, two poems, two excerpts from a nonfiction series and a U.S. History chapter.“Stealing Beauty,” an article from TIME Magazine, is the one exception, as it is written with adults in mind. We chose “Stealing Beauty”to demonstrate how we use Toolkit strategies in our own reading process.
- “Stealing Beauty” by Hannah Beech in TIME Magazine
- “UNICEF and You” by Jackie Wlodarczak in TIME for Kids Extra
- “Saving Their Native Language” by Martha Pickerill in TIME for Kids
- “Tigers Roar Back” by Laura Girardi in TIME for Kids
- “Testing, Testing” by Elizabeth Sirius in TIME for Kids
- Lightning by Stephen Kramer in Carolrhoda Books, Inc.
- “Summer of the Shark” by Laura Girardi in TIME for Kids
- “The EagleHas Landed” by the Madison Press Lt., from “First on the Moon” a Hyperion/Madison Press Book
- “Titanic” by Sean Price in Kids Discover
- Titanic reproduction tickets
- Titanic: Past and Present, Part Three by Edward S. Kamuda from The Titanic Historical Society website
- “Moon” and “Secrets” from Space Songs by Myra Cohn Livingston
- “Mexico” by Kevin Supples in National Geographic Reading Expeditions
- “Understanding Electricity” by Stephen M. Tomecek in National Geographic Reading Expeditions
- “At Home in the Arctic” In National Geographic for Kids
- “One If by Land, Two If by Sea” from A History of US: Colonies to Countries (Vol 3), by Joy Hakim
- “Can Kids Stop Kids From Smoking?” by Ritu Upadhyay in TIME for Kids
- “Western Roundup” by Kathryn R. Hoffman in TIME for Kids
- “Turn It Off!” by Kathryn R. Hoffman in TIME for Kids
- “One Bad Bug” by Claudia Wallis in TIME for Kids
- “Big Talkers” by Peter Winkler in National Geographic for Kids
- “The Maya” by Stella Sands in Kids Discover
- “Garana’s Story”by Kent Page in National Geographic for Kids
- “The Many Faces of Masks” in National Geographic for Kids
- “Hard At Work” by Ritu Upadhyay in TIME for Kids
- “The Comeback Humpbacks” in National Geographic for Kids
We typically use short nonfiction text to introduce kids to strategic reading because it’s inherently interesting and engaging even to the most reluctant readers. Additionally, short text presents a complete set of thoughts and ideas and doesn’t take long to read. The teachers with whom we work immediately recognize the value of our short nonfiction text and they want to know where they can get their hands on some, too. Truth is we’re always on the lookout for engaging short text we can share with kids; indeed, we’ve been known to tear fun, lively essays from airplane magazines. However, you don’t have to fly to get good short text. We make it easier for you and supply you with Nonfiction Short Text, a text pack of 42 short pieces specially written for the Toolkit about a range of topics we chose, knowing they would appeal to kids—everything from Lance Armstrong to the greenhouse effect. Note we’ve organized the Short Text thematically and by reading challenge. Nearly every thematic grouping includes stories that are easy to read and others that offer a greater challenge. Who knows? As you enjoy these with your students, perhaps they’ll be inspired to write their own “Shorts.”
Organized thematically and by reading challenge, Short Text cover a range of topics including:KEY:
* Most Accessible text
** More Challenging Text
*** Most Challenging Text—Good selections for teachers to model their own reading process and for readers who want and need more of a challenge.
* The First Olympics
** Buried Alive!
* The Great Depression: Mired in Poverty
** Riding the Rails to Hope
* Navajo Code Talkers
** Japanese-American Internment
* The Passion of Cesar Chavez
** Boycott for Change
* The Case Against Soda
** Influential Advertising
* How Much Is Enough?
** The Money Game
* Alien Cover-Up?
** Seeing Aliens
* Magic Women
** A Master Magician
* A Beloved Loser
** Horse Behavior
* A Pet Iguana
** The Popularity of Pets
* Making Honey
** The Super Ant
* Naming Hurricanes
** Hurricane Hunters
* Real Giants
** The Power of Niagara Falls Blood
* What’s Your Type?
** Your Circulatory System
* Gypsy Musician
** Music with a Cause
* The History of Photography
** Flemish Painters: Artistic Survivors
* The Tour de France
** Racing for Life
* Oscar Schindler
* The Importance of Hard Work
** On the Wings of a Dream
** The Life of Frida Kahlo
More challenging topics
*** September 11, 2001
*** How Computers Work
*** The Greenhouse Effect
*** Ozone Hole
*** The Textile Industry
- How Many Days to America? by Eve Bunting
- Cheyenne Again by Eve Bunting
- Lightning (Nature in Action) by Stephen Krame r
- Now Let Me Fly by Dolores Johnson
- The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History by Jane Yolen
- The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Cole s
- The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkin s
Need additional engaging informational text?
In addition to the Short Text that comes with the Toolkit and the optional Trade Book Pack that you can order, Steph and Anne have created two collections of books and magazines that work well with the Toolkit.
For original copies of the Kids Discover articles used in the Toolkit or to purchase other issues of the magazine that Steph and Anne have selected as ideal teaching text, go to www.kidsdiscoverteachers.com.
Steph and Anne have also assembled a collection of delightful nonfiction trade books from Heinemann-Raintree Classroom. For more information on these titles go to www.heinemannclassroom.com/products/toolkit.asp