Research Basis-How AS Works - Research: Informational Text in Learning

An overview by Dr. Melissa Purcell of research into the impact of teaching and learning focus on informational texts.

Informational Text

National education reforms, such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), place emphasize on the use of informational text in classrooms yet many students have difficulty with this type of text. Unlike the entertaining nature of narrative text, informational text's main purpose is to provide information which often makes it less engaging for a reader. Common Core standards stress informational text because 21st century occupations require workers to be able to read, understand, evaluate and judge veracity of such material.

As they advance in grade, students often face textbooks in every subject that consists solely of informational text. If students do not get practice reading informational text, then they will struggle to understand required classroom readings. The majority of students’ eventual adult reading, both on and off the job, will be informational so students need opportunities to read these types of passages in the classroom in order to function in the world outside of class.

Students have questions about the world around them and informational text can answer these questions for them. Approximately 96% of text that appears on the Internet is informational (Kamil and Lane, 1998) but since anyone can post “information” online, students need a vetted source to obtain accurate knowledge. In an age when students can type a question in any popular search engine and often get an unreliable answer, AwesomeStories provides credible, verified informational text written in an engaging narrative.

Empirical evidence from various research studies show that using informational text, such as those available in AwesomeStories, can:

  • Increase motivation by providing opportunities to address students’ questions and interests (Correia, 2011; Hiebert and Cervetti, 2011; Monte-Sano, 2011; National Reading Panel, 2000)
  • Increase information literacy skills such as question posing, researching, evaluation of resources, and making inferences (Hiebert and Cervetti, 2011; Monte-Sano, 2011; National Reading Panel, 2000; Nagy, Herman, and Anderson, 1985)
  • Build content knowledge (Hiebert and Cervetti, 2011; Monte-Sano, 2011; National Reading Panel, 2000; Nagy, Herman, and Anderson, 1985)
  • Boost vocabulary (Hiebert and Cervetti, 2011; National Reading Panel, 2000; Nagy, Herman, and Anderson, 1985)
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Author: Purcell, Melissa 20stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 22, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

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Referenced Research Studies:

Correia, Marlene Ponte. “Fiction vs. Informational Texts: Which Will Kindergartners Choose?” Young Children, 66 (2011), 100-104. Web. 1 June 2015. https://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/201111/Correia_Fiction_vs_Informational_Texts_Online%201111.pdf

Hiebert, Elfrieda H., and Gina N. Cervetti. "What Differences in Narrative and Informational Texts Mean for the Learning and Instruction of Vocabulary.” Reading Research Report, 11.1, (2011). Web. 1 June 2015. http://textproject.org/assets/publications/TextProject_RRR-11.01_Vocabularies-of-Narrative-and-Informational-Texts.pdf

Kamil, Michael L., and David Lane (1998). Researching the Relation Between Technology and Literacy: An Agenda for the 21st Century. In D. Reinking, M. McKenna, L. D. Labbo, R. D. Keifer (Eds.) The Handbook of Literacy and Technology: Transformations in a Post-Typographic World (pp. 323-341). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Monte-Sano, Chauncey. “Beyond Reading Comprehension and Summary: Learning to Read and Write in History by Focusing on Evidence, Perspective, and Interpretation.”

Curriculum Inquiry, 41.2 (2011), 212-249. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.http://mdcss.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Learning-to-Read-and-Write-by-Focusing-on-Evidence-Perspective-and-Interpretation-by-Chancey-Monte-Sano.pdf

Nagy, William E., Patricia A. Herman, and Richard C. Anderson. “Learning Word Meanings from Context during Normal Reading.” Reading Research Quarterly, 20.2 (1985), 233-253. Web. 1 June 2015. http://www.ltl.appstate.edu/reading_resources/RE_6120_Readings_CHAPTERS/Nagy_et_al.pdf

National Reading Panel. Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and its Implications for Reading Instruction. Reports of the Subgroups. Washington, DC: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/nrp/Pages/findings.aspx

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"Research: Informational Text in Learning" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 22, 2015. Feb 24, 2020.
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