Nonfiction books present many opportunities to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden a child's view of the world. Nonfiction books are written differently than picture books in that there are often more pictures, graphics, charts and photographs included within the pages.
At the beginning of this unit, students eased the transition into more nonfiction reading by encouragement to preview a book before reading and to be an active reader who asks lots of questions.
They have been taking a "book walk". This is one great way to make predictions about an unfamiliar nonfiction text by taking a "walk" through the book before reading. By looking closely together at the front and back cover, the index, table of contents, the glossary, and the photographs or other images, readers can start to get a sense about the topic. This scanning and skimming helps set the expectation for the reading. At home, make sure your child is continuing to take the time to walk through the book before starting to read.
This week we learned how to engage more in our books by encouraging questions. This a good habit to practice because it will help a reader to develop more understanding with nonfiction books. Students have been encouraging one another to be an active reader by asking a lot of questions (I wonder..., Did you find..., What do you think..."
At home, you can model these behaviors by talking or thinking out loud as you turn the pages of the book. This is a helpful way for your child to see and hear what a successful reader does when faced with difficult or unfamiliar topics. For example, "When I looked at this photograph, I asked myself, "Where is Antarctica? Is that the same place as the South Pole?" Then talk together about how and what you would need to do to find the answer to the questions. This will reinforce that many questions can be answered by reading a text closely and by paying attention to captions and picture titles. Some children enjoy writing their questions on sticky notes and working to answer them during the reading.
Previewing a text and asking questions are two terrific ways to navigate nonfiction texts. Enjoy spending more time with some fascinating informational books!
What we're learning in first grade. Students are also making comments in class! At home add to the posts, too.