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Literature & Informational Text: Common Core

text elements

We started out our school year reading literature stories.  My students learned that when they read those types of books they should be able to identify certain elements like characters, setting, problem, and solution.  Once we learned this, we moved on to informational text.  Problem was when we began to mix books, it became surprisingly hard for some of my struggling readers to keep the two types separated in their minds.

I had to find a way to help them to separate the types in their brains so they could apply it to a new book.  Color coding became our new friend this year!

We all made charts for our reading response journals.  Pink became our literature story chart.  

Green became our color for informational texts and elements we may find in them.  The color coding really seemed to help the students who had been struggling.  They would first decide what color the book went with and then could use the information from the charts to help them prove why they thought the book was either a literature story or informational text.  I always have them prove their thinking.  Not only is this a common core requirement, but if they have to think through to prove an answer, they may see that their original answer was flawed and need to go back and try again.  

examples of literature using book covers

Our next step was taking some books we have read this year and deciding (again- we discuss this when new books are introduced) which chart they belong on.  After they can tell me the type of book that it is and prove why they think that, the picture of the book cover gets taped to the chart.

using informational text elements to identify books

We don't have as many informational books on the chart yet since we have just recently begun this unit.  

When the students try to decide which chart the books belong on, you can see them look over at the charts for help.  Or you can just give them the hint of does it belong on the pink or the green charts.  The color is helpful for those that are having difficulty remembering the common core terms.  We will use the charts and corresponding colors as bridges to the correct vocabulary until they can remember on their own.  


  1. I found this posted on pinterest. I love this idea. . . I IMMEDIATELY repinned your post. Thanks so much for sharing.

    ✰ Stacy

    Simpson Superstars

  2. It is amazing what color will do. Any extra ways we can enhance with visual cues are helpful to some of those brains. You're so very wonderful at what you do.

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  3. That's a really good idea Lori. I think I'll do this in the classroom too. Thanks!
    Grade ONEderful

  4. Thank you so much for the pin and for coming by, Stacy! I appreciate that!

  5. Tammy,you always have the kindest words for me! I so appreciate that. :)

  6. Good luck, Barbara, with using the color coding in the classroom! I hope it helps. :)


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