Literacy Site Boosts Nonfiction Reading Skills

Reading for Information ( is a new online course that helps educators boost their nonfiction reading skills. Created by the National Geographic Society; the Indiana Department of Education; and the Clearinghouse on Reading, English and Communication, the free course is designed for teaching students how to read nonfiction works for information.

The nine-unit class, which can be taken for university or professional development credit, aims to teach the skills necessary to read for information that differ from the skills necessary to read works of fiction. To illustrate these differences, the course uses the text and images from the "Windows on Literacy" and "Reading Expeditions" series, as well as a new elementary book series from the National Geographic Society's School Publishing Division.

Educators enrolled in the course will learn skills for reading and analyzing the main components of nonfiction, including description and procedure, news reporting, cause and effect, argument and opinion, and biography and nonfiction narrative. In addition, the site features a parent section that allows instructors to send home activities that parents can use to continue encouraging the same "reading for information" literacy skills.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2004 issue of THE Journal.

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