The Teacher's Tool Kit For Literacy

Reading Like A Writer: Informational Texts

Episode Summary

Literacy expert Sharon Callen talks about how teachers can help their students bring life to informational texts.

Episode Notes

For many teachers, it's a challenge to help students go beyond the ordinary, featureless writing and vast amounts of copying that can come with informational texts. 

In reality, informational texts are engaging and masterfully crafted to guide the reader through the rich array of features incorporated into these texts. So, to be inspired by these features, to understand how they work, how to read them (improving comprehension!!) their purpose and how to recreate them, we begin the journey to reading like a writer.

Sharon first explored this notion through the use of many of ERA publications' big books. These big books provided the perfect platform for reading like a writer as a class, to explore the features of these texts and the way the information was presented. Doing this shifted students away from low level (frequently copied) text only texts, to far more sophisticated informational texts loaded with features. The most significant outcome was students transforming what they had learned into an array of text features, rather than just slabs of text only. Copying text virtually became redundant.

In this episode, Sharon talks about:


Phil and Sharon talk about this, as well as:

And much more!

Resources mentioned in this episode:


Era Publications: Picture Books


Tally Charts: Non-Fiction Text Features

Info Sheet: Features of Non-Fiction Texts - Explanations

Info Sheets: Writing Templates

Writing Templates: Explanation Texts

Writing Templates: Timeline 1

Writing Templates - various

Reading Like a Writer: Beginnings


A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston

DK Eyewitness Books: Ancient China by DK Publishing

The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Gullian


‘Reading the Whole Page: Teaching and Assessing Text Features to Meet K-5 Common Core Standards’ by Nicki Clausen Grace and Michelle Kelley


LEAP: Little Books With Attitude non fiction for 5,6 year olds by Sharon Callen (12 Big Books and 36 matching little books)


Do you have informational texts that have worked in your classroom to share? Please join our group and share here.

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The Teacher’s Tool Kit For Literacy is the free podcast for motivated teachers and school leaders who want the latest tips, tricks and tools to inspire their students and school community in literacy learning. 

Hear from literacy expert and founder of Cue Learning, Sharon Callen, and special guests.

At Cue Learning, our literacy specialists draw on over 30 years of teaching and international consulting experience to deliver world-class learning solutions. We equip, empower and support teachers to become their authentic selves. 

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