Top 3 Ways to Analyze Informative Text for Middle School


Get an easy 3-step process for teaching informative text analysis to your middle school students!

My school recently learned that it was selected to be a pilot school for the new state essay writing test.  It would be fine if we had known that from the beginning, but instead, we were told to focus on just the reading aspects as this was a new year for the new reading standards and reading test.  So that's what we were doing.  

We have about 3 months until the test.  And of course, I teach students with Special Needs so they need every single one of those days (at least) to learn both kinds of essay writing.  So now what?  Here are my Top 3 Ways to Teach Analyzing Informative Text to Lay a Firm Foundation For Essay Writing:

1.  Start with the prompt

I know I need to get my students used to reading a prompt and then using that as the purpose for reading.

So the first thing to do is to turn that prompt into a thesis.  If the prompt asks "Why are these places so important that they should be protected", We'll flip it into a thesis by writing "These places are so important that they should be protected because of _____, _____, and _____."  

Then I'll tell my students that we have to read the text to fill in the blanks.

2.  Read and Mark the Text

This is where the analysis comes in.  I like to read the text to the students paragraph by paragraph.  After we read the first paragraph, I'll ask them "Does this paragraph tell us why these places are so important that they should be protected?" If someone answers "yes" (and they are correct), I'll ask them to point out the sentence.  Then we'll highlight or underline it (again if it's correct).  If they say "no" (and that's correct). then we'll cross out the paragraph.

We'll do this paragraph by paragraph and it may take more than one class period but it will be worth it because at the end of this they will have learned a valuable skill for reading and marking the text.

3.  Fill in the Thesis

Now that we have finished reading and marking the text, we'll have to group the ideas we've highlighted. I'll help them do that by suggesting characteristics that some highlighted sentences share. 

For example, the few sentences that are about natural beauty will be grouped together. The sentences that are about cultural significance will also be grouped together.   Then we'll name the trait that they all share.  Those names go in the blanks in our thesis.

This is probably the hardest part of the analysis process so it's important to first do it this way as a form of modeling and then provide some practice activities for students to get more independent practice.

Speaking of practice, I have this set I made for my students ready to go!

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This is also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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Your middle school students can easily analyze informative text with this 3 step process!