RLTA Study Group: Mount Vernon Elementary School


School: Mount Vernon Elementary School
Text: Nonfiction Reading Power by Adrienne Gear
Study Group Leader: Mrs. O’Neal (2nd Grade General Education)
Study Group Members: Mrs. Runaas (1st Grade General Education), Ms. Ma (3rd and 4th Grade Reading), Ms. Pender-Bey (6, 7, 8th Grade Science)
Goal: As a study group, we want to teach specific reading strategies to deepen comprehension of and provide access to nonfiction texts.

Study Group Synopsis

The text our group read was Nonfiction Reading Power by Adrienne Gear. This book is highly recommended if you are looking for straightforward strategies to teach children to read and engage in nonfiction text. The text outlines 5 specific reading powers to encourage readers to “zoom in” and focus on non-fiction texts. Each reading power is outlined in its own chapter with corresponding lessons, texts and strategies to implement. In addition to providing titles of texts to use, the samples of graphic organizers for each strategy prove very supportive for teachers.

The text provides ample examples of specific strategies to apply with students across grade bands and content. Our study group found the language in the text user-friendly and adaptable for students of all ages. Through discussions and text investigations, we discovered multiple opportunities and avenues to access the students’ prior knowledge. The organization of the text, detailed guidance, samples of graphic organizers, and examples aided in our application of teaching the strategies found in the text. Moreover, the text focused on five key strategies to help students engage with nonfiction text: zoom-in, question/infer, determine importance, connect, and transform. We were able to break the text into parts and focus on each strategy to enable the students to access and comprehend nonfiction text. Having supportive tools embedded in learning about the strategies helped in planning and to envision teaching and analyzing our own practice. Something the team really loved about this text is the lists of books to use with each strategy. Fundamentally, our goal focused on the acquisition of skills to increase the access and comprehension of nonfiction text for our students so having the resources found in Nonfiction Reading Power supported our efforts with the provided titles and text being the icing on the cake.

As we read each chapter, we discussed how we planned to implement each strategy in our classrooms and how our students responded. We discussed how we can see the progression from primary, middle, and upper and what a benefit this would be for our school and students.  This text can provide a basis for a common language we can use throughout the school with our students.

Due to the challenging school year caused by the pandemic, we reflected as a group that some of our transfer plans were limited due to remote learning. Hybrid instruction was difficult as well when attempting to implement the provided strategies with fidelity. We all feel that the work is worth revisiting in the upcoming school year.

As a school, we have many initiatives that are rolling out starting this summer. Our school has a focus on Personalized Learning, Abundant Reading, and a CIWP goal of increasing student attainment. Our work will be shared with our administration and colleagues. Many study group members have roles on various committees including Instructional Leadership Team, Parent Engagement Team, PL Core Team to name a few. Our connection to these different teams allows us the opportunity to share our work as the committee’s plan for the beginning of the year professional development sessions. We will collaborate with each other to share our work with students and their families throughout the year during Open House and Parent Cafe meetings.

Additional Resources


Non-Fiction Reading Powers Organizers