Teaching Informational Text Skills￼
By Mary Montero
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I am always searching for engaging informational texts to get my students and children excited about reading. About two years ago, I discovered The Week Junior, a weekly news magazine written for kids ages 8-14, and I fell in love. We have a subscription at home for my own children and one for school for my classroom! Incorporating the magazine into our home and my classroom routines has empowered them with a love of reading. It’s perfect for teaching informational text skills.
The Week Junior gives kids a world of news and ideas and checks every single one of my boxes for high-quality nonfiction texts: the articles and pictures are engaging, it is totally unbiased, plus it has a variety of text lengths and levels to make it accessible for all students. Ever since discovering this gem of a magazine, I have been using it at home, and in my classroom, on a weekly basis.
Weekly Magazines as Choice Reading Tools At Home
We know that giving kids access to meaningful, relevant, and authentic texts is key to their success. Receiving a magazine each week gives them something to look forward to (what kid doesn’t LOVE mail!?) and provides them with so much delicious brain food!
- I love when my kids are sitting at the kitchen island reading the articles and sharing all of the tidbits from the magazine.
- I love the way they read entire articles out loud to me – practicing their oral reading fluency without even realizing it.
- I love the way they randomly bring up facts and information they learned from The Week Junior.
- I love the way they beg for my camera so they can take the perfect picture to enter into The Week Junior photo contests.
- I love the way they debate hot topics with me from The Big Debate.
- I love the way they love The Week Junior.
Weekly Magazines as Choice Reading Tools in The Classroom
I love using The Week Junior at home so much that I knew I needed a subscription to use in school, too. I gave my students full access to all of my copies of The Week Junior. I placed them in a magnetic magazine holder on my dry erase board, and they could take them at any time – and they sure did! There was always something appealing to them on the covers and inside, so they were never hesitant to grab the latest issues.
As a parent, and a teacher, this makes my heart sing – it’s so important to me that my kids and students love what they are reading. I know that reading sparks a lifetime love of learning, gets kids on track for success, and helps them identify and follow their passions. The Week Junior provides kids with the tools they’ll need to be well-read and well-informed independent thinkers — exactly what it takes to be successful students in today’s world.
Using the Week Junior to Support Kids’ Learning
I have had a blast exploring all the ways The Week Junior can empower my kids and students. Here are a few ways I’ve used it at home and in the classroom:
✨Vocabulary and Context Clues – The Week Junior is written intentionally for kids, which means the writers are great about including context clues with unknown words. I also loved using it while teaching technical terms and domain-specific vocabulary. Parent Tip: If your child is reading an article and doesn’t understand a word or phrase, have them search for clues around the word or sentence.
✨Text Structures & Text Features – Every year, we make an anchor chart identifying text structures and features using the articles and images from The Week Junior. We go on a major scavenger hunt and find so many examples throughout the magazine. Parent Tip: As you’re looking through the magazine with your children, ask them to find all the picture captions on a page, identify subheadings, words in italics or bold, etc.
✨Current Events Close Reads and Summaries – Since it’s a weekly magazine, there are always relevant and timely news articles for students to choose from. The articles and topics covered encourage cultural awareness and the idea that there is a great big world outside their town. Every six weeks or so, my students choose an article to summarize or write a main idea and detail statement about. Parent Tip: When reading The Week Junior at home, encourage your kids to give you a one-sentence summary – they can only use one sentence to tell you what the ENTIRE article is about!
✨Nonfiction Fluency Practice with connected text– Research shows how critical it is for students to practice reading fluency with connected text, and we have to include informational texts! The Week Junior has articles of varying lengths, which makes it perfect for authentic fluency practice. Parent Tip: Remember when I mentioned that my own children read entire articles to me? If your child asks you about something within the article, encourage them to read it out loud so you can gather the full context – and help them practice their reading fluency at the same time.
Cumulative Informational Text Magazine Project at School
After using it in so many different ways this year, I decided to have my students complete a cumulative magazine project exploring the texts. They each got one magazine edition and explored it IN-DEPTH using a variety of prompts specific to The Week Junior.
Here are the various prompts they completed with articles from the magazine:
✨Identify major text features
✨Find a positive story and determine the main idea and theme
✨Find a story that could have a different viewpoint and offer a different perspective
✨Select a story that evokes so much feeling you want to write a brief “letter to the editor.”
✨Find a reference to or article about a person and identify character traits
✨Read three stories and rewrite the title and subtitle based on what you read
✨Find a quote that sticks out to you and rewrite it by paraphrasing it in your own words
✨Find three unknown words. Use context clues to determine their meaning.
✨Find The Big Debate section and state the two perspectives or opinions on the issue. Write a paragraph stating your opinion on the topic.
Try 6 Risk-Free Issues + Back to School Savings
Still on the fence? You can try 6 Risk-Free issues and test out some of these assignments at home or in your classroom! I just know the kids in your life will love The Week Junior as much as we do.
If you’re ready to add this amazing resource to your home right now, you can subscribe for $49.95 for 25 issues! If you’re a teacher looking for a classroom subscription, there are wonderful options for you as well, visit theweekjunior.com/education to find out more!
I’m so glad you are here. I’m a current gifted and talented teacher in a small town in Colorado, and I’ve been in education since 2009. My passion (other than my family and cookies) is for making teachers’ lives easier and classrooms more engaging.