Academic Reading Skill:Distinguishing between fact, opinion, and claim LA Times article: “Charter and private schools might not make the grade either” (Ravich, 2009)
What is a fact? • Something that exists • Truth • Reality
General Example Barack Obama was born in 1961. • This information can be verified by research. • This statement cannot be debated. • This sentence includes no evaluative information.
What is an opinion? • A belief • A personal view • An attitude • A judgment or evaluation
General example Abraham Lincoln was the greatest president of the United States. • This information cannot be verified. • People can debate about whether or not this statement is true. • This statement includes adjectives that show subjective thought.
What is a claim? • Something that is presented as a fact • The author sounds sure about the information, but the certainty needs support or reason • The author is committed to the information (is convinced and wants the reader to be convinced of its truth)
General example From the mother of the two young men suspected of the Boston marathon bombings: “My sons are innocent!” • The speaker of this statement believes that the information is a fact. • The verb in this statement is usually used for facts.
From LA Times article: fact, opinion or claim? Paragraph 5 “First, under N.Y. mayor Michael Bloomberg, spending on education has increased from $12.5 billion annually to 21$ billion, or nearly $20,000 per child.”
From LA Times article: fact, opinion or claim? Paragraph 9 “Our schools should have a well-rounded curriculum that includes the arts, history, science, geography, literature, foreign languages, as well as basic skills.”
From LA Times article: fact, opinion or claim? Paragraph 2 “This is not true.”
From LA Times article: fact, opinion or claim? Paragraph 2 “A recent Stanford University study, which compared half the nation’s charter schools with a neighboring public school, concluded that 46% were no better, 37% were significantly worse and only 17% were significantly better than the public school.”
From LA Times article: fact, opinion or claim? Paragraph 1 “Before taking this step, the board should take a hard look at the evidence about charter schools and privately managed schools.”
From LA Times article: fact, opinion or claim? Paragraph 7 “We can’t solve our problems by handing them off to businesses and community groups.”
From LA Times article: fact, opinion or claim? Paragraph 11 “We evade our responsibility to improve public education by privatizing public schools.”