Teaching Common Core RI (Reading Informational Text) Standards in Middle School

The RI standards for Common Core and TNReady are easily broken down and taught in isolation, but this is not the way they were intended to be taught & this is not the way students will be assessed on these standards.

However, when these standards are introduced, I believe they should be taught in isolation as separate lessons & should be spiraled together in the format of the lesson described below before teaching students to synthesize their findings in an essay format.

Students need to be experts in doing the following with reference to informational texts for TNReady:

  • Read and annotate for Main Idea
  • Explain the Central Idea of an informational text in their own words
  • Identify different Rhetorical Devices, or types of evidence, an author uses to develop and argue his/her Central Idea
    • I initially introduce rhetorical devices through the Rhetorical Triangle because it’s initially easier for students to bucket evidence into 3 categories.
  • Analyze how effective the Central Idea was developed throughout the text
    • This specifically requires students to look at the types of evidence the author uses & analyze why the evidence is/ isn’t persuasive. 
    • In addition to analyzing evidence, students must also think about how/ why the author’s elaboration (explanation of key points) is/ isn’t effective.

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NEW TNReady Resources from TDOE

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The Tennessee Department of Education released a Parent Guide & a School Guide for the TNReady test. The information presented was synthesized in digestible graphics and tables. For this reason, the information is critically important for all teachers who are implementing TNReady this year.

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