Tips for Reading Nonfiction

Need help reading the websites, speeches, and articles featured on this site?
Use these core strategies to tackle even the most complex informational texts.

Cite Text Evidence

Whether you are discussing informational texts or writing about them, it’s important to support your interpretations with evidence — specific ideas and details from the text. Use these strategies as a guide for citing text evidence effectively:

  • Notice key details in the text. As you read, notice details that stand out to you as important. What central ideas does the writer communicate? What words or details are used to describe the topic? Highlight the details you find or take notes so that you can easily reference them later.
  • Weigh the evidence. After reading the text a first time, review your highlights and notes, and ask yourself: Based on the details I’ve noted, what conclusions can I draw or what insights do I gain into the topic? As you formulate interpretations, reread the text, looking for additional evidence that confirms (or contradicts) your thinking.
  • Weave evidence into your responses. In both your writing and discussions, cite text evidence to help others understand and accept your interpretations and analysis. You might include quotations (exact statements taken directly from the text) or else use your own words to paraphrase or summarize the writer’s ideas.