Nonfiction Notions

I love reading literature! I love to teach literature, and writing narratives, and writing about our reading! I sometimes miss how much simpler my life was when my focus was entirely on history, but I would not trade the last six years of teaching an integrated class for anything. Language, and how we acquire it, grow in it, become skillful in it is both a fascinating puzzle and a real responsibility because reading and writing are as important to our students’ development as breath.

I do not love reading informational text. Given the choice between a biography and a novel, I will choose the novel. Every. Single. Time. We are all asked to teach things we don’t love though, for the betterment of our students. When I am faced with teaching something I am not naturally passionate about, I challenge myself to find the passion. I firmly believe that passion is necessary for teaching because it is hard to convince your students to care about a subject or skill if you don’t.

The first thing I do in this case is challenge my assumption about the topic. Do I really not love it? I say I don’t love informational text, but I do love my new InstantPot, and I’ve spent hours researching recipes, watching YouTube videos, and troubleshooting dishes.  I say I don’t love informational text, but I watch the news every night, and read articles from the paper and magazines about things happening in the world. I say I don’t love informational text, but I love reading books and blogs about teaching – researching strategies and testing them out to see if they work for my students and myself. Hmmmm.

If I were honest, I’d say I probably spend half of my reading time as an adult consuming informational text and enjoying it. So why am I convinced I don’t love it? Maybe what I really don’t love is inauthentic informational text. “Test prep” informational text. Keeping the definition to just text, when in reality we receive information from multimedia sources as well. Reading informational text not to solve a problem, to answer a question, or  to make a decision, but just to check off the requirement. There must be purpose for passion.


Once I have challenged my assumptions, I read, read, read. I’m reading an amazing book, Reading Nonfiction by Kylene Beers





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