Reading Roll Call – May 18, 2020 – How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor

Reading Roll Call is a classroom activity I conduct with my students at the beginning of every week to see what they are independently reading. I always share the title of a book that I am reading to model participation and showcase the lifelong commitment to reading that I’ve made.

The Reading Roll Call idea stems from Donalyn Miller‘s book Reading in the Wild. I have adapted the activity and idea into blog form to track my reading progress on a weekly basis. Happy Reading!


Last week I posted the video below on my Facebook page with the following:

I never thought I’d be one to post something like this, but you need to check this out before Facebook/YouTube takes it down. 🤫

The response from friends and family on Facebook intrigued me. According to comments left underneath the post, I concluded that my reputation is posting accurate, research-based articles.

To be honest, sifting through all of the articles and updates regarding coronavirus has been exhausting. I decided to have a little fun on social media after I had stumbled upon the video from a friend with a similar reputation of posting information.

The arrival of How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor: A Smart, Irreverent Guide to Biography, History, Journalism, Blogs, and Everything in Between over the weekend could not have come at a better time.

This is the first book I’ve read by Thomas C. Foster. He has written a handful of “How to Read [literary genre] Like a Professor” books. I’ve read and heard positive reviews about his writing and approach, so I thought his newest book featuring nonfiction would be a good place to start.

I’m hoping to gain new insight about how to teach and encourage critical thinking of nonfiction for my students. Reading nonfiction is a staple in my classroom and curriculum with the Article of the Week unit.

I’m also hoping to apply what I learn to my own reading of nonfiction. Everyone needs critical thinking tools to navigate the fast paced flow of information we’re all receiving these days.

From the Back of the Book

“The New York Times bestselling author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor uses the same skills to teach how to access accurate information in a rapidly changing 24/7 news cycle and becoming better readers, thinkers, and consumers of media.

We live in an information age, but it is increasingly difficult to know what information to trust. Fake news is rampant in mass media, stoked by foreign powers wishing to disrupt a democratic society. We need to be more perceptive, more critical, and more judicious readers. The future of our republic may depend on it.

How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor offers tips for more careful, more attentive, more aware reading. On bookstore shelves, one book looks as authoritative as the next. Online, posts and memes don’t announce their relative veracity. It is up to readers to establish how accurate, how thorough, how fair material may be.

After laying out general principles of reading nonfiction, How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor offers advice for specific reading strategies in various genres from history and biography to science and technology to social media. Throughout, the emphasis is on understanding writers’ biases, interrogating claims, analyzing arguments, remaining wary of broad assertions and easy answers, and thinking critically about the written and spoken materials readers encounter. We can become better citizens through better reading, and the time for that is now.”

Disclaimer: I received this book free of cost as an Olive Influencer of Harper Perennial. How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor will be published on May 26, 2020.

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