What is Authentic Literature?

Authentic literature refers to narrative and expository texts that are written in the original, natural language of the authors. These texts are not written with a controlled vocabulary or rewritten to achieve a particular score according to a readability formula (Routman, 1991). Authentic literature is often referred to as "real books" or "trade books" (Rudman, 1989). Basically, these are the books that can be found in the library and include a wide range of fiction and nonfiction texts that authentically represent many cultures presented from diverse perspectives (Harris, 1992).

Authentic literature presents wonderfully exciting stories (narrative texts) as well as vast arrays of information (expository texts). This literature also includes secondary sources such as textbooks that use many primary sources as a basis for developing various points of view. As Norton (1991) notes when discussing authentic literature: "Literature entices, motivates, and instructs. It opens doors of discovery and provides endless hours of adventure and enjoyment" (p. 2).


Go on to Use of Authentic Literature at All Levels and With All Abilities
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