News and Notes from Principal Goetz

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Principal Tammy Goetz

November 15, 2013

Dear Seward Families:

As you know, I have been encouraging all of you to read more non-fiction/informational text at home in order to best prepare our students for the new MCAIII reading test in the spring. Non-fiction/informational text includes: biographies, auto-biographies, essays, journals, memoirs, diaries, documentaries, histories, scientific papers, photographs, textbooks, travel books, blueprints, technical documentation, user manuals and diagrams. You and your child(ren) can find these types of books at your local library and in the Seward Media Center.

The November issue of Educational Leadership provides responses to questions about the new focus on non-fiction.

For example:

Q: Why are informational texts important?
A: Many students in our elementary schools are getting a diet of 80% literature—not nearly enough science and history. This doesn’t prepare them for the kind of reading they will need to do in secondary schools, college and the workplace.

Q: What should students expect to learn from reading informational text?
A: Reading non-fiction also exposes students to problem-solution, cause-effect, compare-contrast and persuasion. Students also learn how to understand and use bullet points, italics and bold print, headings and sub-headings, sidebars, tables, graphs and indexes.

Another article in the same Educational Leadership publication suggests the following questions for adults and students to ask as they read informational/non-fiction text:

  1. What does this author want me to know? What does the text teach me?
  2. What does this piece want me to understand? What new ideas and concepts does the text suggest?
  3. What does the author want me to feel? What emotions does this passage stir up? How does it accomplish all this?
  4. Whose perspective is represented?
  5. Whose point of view is most fully explored?
  6. Who is honored or privileged in the text and how? Who is marginalized?
  7. How does the perspective in this text compare with others on this issue?
  8. How does the author use persuasive techniques, literary devices (point of view, theme, symbols, etc), or writers craft to convey meaning?

The staff and I thank you in advance for your supporting our efforts to have students read more non-fiction.

Thanks to those of you who were able to join us at the Fall Gathering. Our PTA is to be acknowledged for finding a way to bring our community together for a fun family event!

Sincerely,

Tammy Goetz
Seward Principal