It is vital for readers to be able to decipher important information from the not-so-important information when reading a text. Have you ever asked a child to recap a story and they begin to tell you every single detail? So, how do kids decide what is and isn’t important?
In general, fiction tends to be easier for young readers to figure out what is important because the text structure or story line is more familiar. Don’t get me wrong, determining importance within fiction can be a struggle for some children. And I hope that you’ll take a look at the fiction text structure section to give you a few more ideas if this is hard for your child to understand.
Non-fiction is where many readers (even good ones) begin to get confused on determining what is important in text. It seems that the author throws loads of information to the reader and it’s up to the reader to figure out what to make of it. It’s up to the reader to figure out not only what is important, but what is not important. Understanding the different nonfiction text features and structures is a big part of the solution.
Please check out the fiction and the nonfiction sections under Comprehension for further guidance when teaching your reader how to determine importance.