By Tim Shanahan
Does research show that adding more informational text will improve student achievement?
No, not directly. No one has done a study to examine the learning results when students read different proportions of different kinds of text. The idea that students should get more experience reading informational text is based on the following commonsense notions:
- Because people read more informational texts in college and the workplace, it's important to become proficient with these texts.
- Strong evidence shows the differences between informational and literary texts as well as in the cognitive processes we use to read such texts (Otto, 1982; Weaver & Kintsch, 1991), so it follows that reading literary texts will not necessarily improve one's ability to handle informational texts.
- Students have much less experience reading informational text, which means less opportunity to learn how to read such texts well.
- People usually get better at what they practice, so if students had more chances to read informational text, they might improve their abilities in this area.