How to Read Non-Fiction Articles

Contributor: Emily Love. Lesson ID: 10604

Reading isn't just for entertainment; you will read tons of articles, ads, etc., and need to truly understand their message. Using online sources and this strategy, you will learn to get the message!



learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Grab a pencil and piece of paper. Then, set a timer for one minute and write down as many different types of non-fiction writing as you can in a minute.

Time's up!

  • How many are on your list?
  • You probably thought of newspaper and magazine articles, but did you get diaries and autobiographies?
  • What about letters and advertisements?

Practice separating fiction and non-fiction with this quick quiz:

Learning how to read and understand non-fiction writing is extremely important because these resources can introduce you to valuable information, help you learn a new skill, and so much more!

While you just generated a list of many different types of non-fiction writing, you will find that you will read many newspaper and periodical articles in your academic career.

Use the following strategies to strengthen your comprehension of the articles you read:

Before Reading

  • Read and consider the title.
  • Find the author's name and any information provided about him or her (often at the end of the article).
  • Identify the source (i.e., the original publication) of the article.
  • Read the introduction or opening paragraphs carefully, checking these against the title. Do they explain the title? Do you need to keep reading to understand the title?
  • Skim through the article and read all boldface subheadings, pull out quotes, and sidebar information.
  • Examine any graphic content (e.g., maps, illustrations, images).
  • Read the last paragraph carefully.
  • Study any questions or additional information provided at the end of the article.

During Reading

  • Read the entire article, keeping in mind what you have gained from your pre-reading and checking your new understanding against the initial understanding, revising as needed.
  • Highlight any lines that are important.
  • Circle unfamiliar words and look them up in the dictionary if you cannot determine the meaning with contextual clues.
  • Mark sections that are confusing. Write down any questions you have that may clarify your understanding.

After Reading

  • Go back and reread the sections that you marked as confusing.
  • Research any unfamiliar information.
  • Write down the main idea of the article.

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