The Teacher Tip

Model the Addition of Information

November 8, 2017

Adapted from Teaching Nonfiction Revision by Sneed B. Collard and Vicki Spandel. 

Searching out missing information provides an ideal opportunity for modeling. Pick one of your early drafts for this exercise—so it’s more likely to have a few informational holes. Then ask the whole class to be a writing group for you. Be specific about the kind of help you need: e.g., “I need to know if I’ve given readers enough information about my topic. As you listen, think about what questions pop into your mind. When I finish reading, we’ll list those questions and choose the most important ones to answer.” Hold on—important?

Yes, because a writer isn’t obligated to answer every possible question that occurs to listeners. 

Some questions are better than others. The most helpful inquiries get at information that the writer would most certainly have included had she only thought to do so! Other good questions seek to satisfy readers’ curiosities, detangle confusing points, provide little-known details, or expand readers’ understanding of a topic.

To learn more about Teaching Nonfiction Revision, and to download a sample chapter, visit

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