When Kylene Beers and Robert Probst published Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading (2012), I knew I had stumbled upon an essential text for teaching close reading. I designed an interactive foldable with the six signposts for fiction and every September, I teach my students the signposts. With every fictional text we read, we identify the signposts, discuss how the signposts lead to deeper comprehension of the text, and understand the author’s intentions.
Needless to say, when I heard Beers and Probst were publishing Reading Nonfiction: Notice & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies (2015), I preordered the book knowing I would include these “new signpost” with my repertoire for teaching nonfiction reading. As I am about to embark on a nonfiction unit of study with my students focusing on reading and writing investigative journalism pieces that are a hybrid of narrative and argumentative writing, I will introduce the nonfiction signpost and helping students to see “deeply into informational texts” and think critically about the moves that writers make.
The five nonfiction signposts are:
Contrasts and Contradictions: The author presents something that contrasts with or contradicts what the reader is likely to know, think,or have experienced, or shows a difference between two or more situations, events, or perspectives.
Extreme or Absolute Language: The author uses language that leaves no doubt about a situation or event, the perhaps exaggerates or overstates a case.
Numbers and Stats: The author uses numbers or words that show amounts of statistical information to show comparison in order to prove a point or help create an image.
Quoted Words: The author quote others, directly, with what we are calling a Voice of Authority or Personal Perspective. The author might also list others in citations.
Word Gaps: The author uses words or phrases that students recognize they don’t know.
I have designed an interactive foldable for my students that front loads the five nonfiction signposts. Students can continuously refer back to the foldable in their Interactive English Notebooks. The foldable includes a list of the five signposts with definitions, anchor questions to help think carefully each signpost, and signal words to help identify the signposts. The purpose in designing this foldable is to help students navigate complex nonfiction texts and question the text in a way that encourages student to be critical consumers of information.
To grab a copy of this foldable and instructions click here.