This week we are spending some time delving into nonfiction books. As our students get older and become better readers they tend to focus most of their attention on reading fiction. This is fantastic, of course, but we also want to make sure they are getting exposure to the vast array of nonfiction resources available to them. We started this week with a discussion about what makes reading nonfiction different from reading fiction. We talked about the many features of nonfiction books that make them useful and easy to navigate, including the table of contents, the index, photographs and their captions, graphs and tables, labeled diagrams, text boxes, etc.
As a prereading activity, our students were given a nonfiction book and they were asked to look at the cover and flip through the pages. Without actually reading the text, we wanted them to first identify what they might learn from the book they were given. After this they were given some time to look through their book, selecting sections that they found interesting and eye-catching. They wrote down facts that they learned as they read.
It was interesting for them to realize that they were able to learn from and connect with almost any book placed before them. Many of them were given books that they would not normally choose, yet before long they were drawn into them and finding fascinating facts!