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Nurturing Informed Thinking

Reading, Talking, and Writing Across Content-Area Sources

Practical help for teaching students in Grades 3-8 to read, talk, and write across content-area sources.

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In today’s world, the importance of teaching students to analyze different sources on a particular topic has never been greater.   Students need to be able to connect ideas, weigh viewpoints, and balance differing perspectives. “We want students to ask questions and then actively seek out answers by reading, listening to, or viewing  multiple sources —articles, books, videos, photos, infographics, and more,” literacy consultant and author Sunday Cummins explains.  “We want them to think across those sources and be able to articulate for themselves as well as for others what they’ve learned—orally and in writing.”

Nurturing Informed Thinking provides support for teachers as they plan for and manage teaching with multiple sources on a regular basis. Sunday’s practical framework includes strategies for:

  • Planning: establishing purposes for reading, and selecting sources
  • Teaching: lesson ideas for reading and thinking across sources
  • Supporting: instructional moves that help students
  • Releasing Responsibility: student-led research with inquiry charts and other scaffolds.

“The value of this endeavor becomes clear when you see your students’ eyes light up as they examine a second, third, and fourth source on a topic,” Sunday writes. “As a result of reading across sources, students understand the world around them better. More importantly, they have a sense of how they can continue to learn. This is what we want for students—strong identities as strategic readers, writers, and thinkers.”

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