Engaging With Text

This resource shows teachers modeling how to read aloud literary and informational texts and use think-alouds. This type of explicit instruction helps students understand that all readers need to think and engage before, during, and after reading to comprehend and learn.

This resource contains instructional videos and specific content for using reading and writing to support learning in all content areas, with a focus on English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

It is important to teach students across content areas how to actively engage and interact as they read different types of texts. Text types can be divided into two major categories: literary and informational. Literary texts include poetry, drama, fiction, and literary nonfiction. Informational texts include expository, persuasive, and procedural.

Download and print the handout packet for this resource by clicking the button below.

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Locate the Engaging With Text handout from the packet. You will use this handout throughout the lesson. The handout provides a genre-based framework for approaching reading in four phases: before reading, during reading, rereading, and after reading. 

Review the handout before proceeding to the next section.

Please feel free to email readandwritetx@texasreading.org with questions or feedback about the online resources.

Literary Think-Aloud

In this section, you will watch an example of a think-aloud about a literary text. The videos present a very comprehensive analysis of a text to illustrate the type of thinking that a teacher should share when modeling before-, during-, and after-reading strategies. The teacher stops and says what she is thinking after she reads aloud each paragraph or several sentences. Her students follow along in their own books. She also asks questions, but in an effort to streamline the segment, students' responses are not included.

The text used is The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

Keep in mind that literary texts are appropriate for more than just English language arts. Different types of literary texts, such as poetry, short stories, biographies, autobiographies, and historical fiction, can help students better understand and learn new concepts in every content area, including social studies, science, and mathematics.

Please have your copy of the Engaging With Text handout available during the videos of the teacher think-aloud. You will refer to the first page (Engaging with Literary Text) in this section.

Locate the Sample Notes handout.

When you are ready, click play on the video below to hear a teacher explain how she helps her students engage and interact as they read and write different text types.

From The House On Mango Street. Copyright © 1984 by Sandra Cisneros. Published by Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House, and by Alfred A. Knopf in hardcover in 1994. By permission of Susan Bergholz Literary Services, New York, NY, and Lamy, NM. All rights reserved.

Click here for information about requesting a password to view the videos below.

Click play on the video below to watch a teacher use the information on the back of a book to think aloud before reading the literary text.

Click play on the video below to continue watching a teacher think-aloud that features before-reading strategies for literary text.

Click play on the video below to see a teacher demonstrate before-reading strategies as she takes notes to sum up what she has learned about the author, setting, and type of text.

Click play on the video below to continue with the teacher think-aloud. In this video, the teacher addresses the table of contents and then begins to read aloud the literary text.

Click play on the video below to see a teacher think aloud about the author's language choice and how sentence length affects meaning.

Click play on the video below to see a teacher continue to think aloud as she reads. In this video, the teacher notices the way one paragraph relates to the previous paragraph.

Click play on the video below to see a teacher think aloud about the ways that dialogue and word choice help us better understand the narrator.

Now it is your turn. Select a literary text you currently use (or plan to use) in your classroom. Use that literary text to develop a think-aloud to model the stages of reading. Include explicit modeling to help students develop different skills for different texts. Write your plan for your think-aloud in your teaching journal.

Informational Think-Aloud

In this section, you will watch videos of an informational text think-aloud. You will also have an opportunity to use strategies for engaging with text to develop and practice a teacher think-aloud as you read an informational text.

Informational text is the most commonly used type of text in all of the content areas except English language arts. In most English classrooms, students typically read and write more literary texts than informational texts. In the majority of secondary mathematics, social studies, and science classrooms,  students most often read informational texts as presented in hard-copy or online instructional materials. It is important for all content area teachers to offer their students a multitude of reading and writing experiences by using a variety of informational texts such as newspaper and magazine articles, essays, critiques, and nonfiction trade and picture books.

Have your copy of the Engaging With Text handout (introduced in Section 1) available during the teacher think-aloud. You will refer to the second page (Engaging with Informational Text) in this section.

Also, locate the example informational text and the corresponding Notes Framework handout from the handout packet.

When you are ready, click play on the video below to watch a teacher think-aloud of before-reading strategies for an informational text.

Using the Engaging With Text handout as a reference, read the informational article and take notes on the Notes Framework handout. As you read, pay attention to your thought processes. This practice will help you to become more metacognitive and better able to articulate your thinking when you actually model and think aloud in front of your own students.

When you have finished, click play on the video below.

Reread the article. Remember to make additions or corrections to your notes. When you have finished, click play on the video below.