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Non-Fiction . A balanced literacy program should include all types of genre Learning to read and write non-fiction is a necessary skill Using non-fiction material helps us think Non-fiction material can engage the reader Some non-fiction materials are more accessible to some students .

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why should we include non fiction material

A balanced literacy program should include all types of genre

  • Learning to read and write non-fiction is a necessary skill
  • Using non-fiction material helps us think
  • Non-fiction material can engage the reader
  • Some non-fiction materials are more accessible to some students
Why should we include non-fiction material?
non fiction can

Cause children to change their actions towards the environment, the homeless, politics …..

Want to students to bring what they are learning into their own life

Non Fiction can
research can give us



A sense of mission

Researchers don’t love outlines and citations. They get involved, like a good book, they cannot put it down. What matters in research is absorption. LMC

Research can Give Us
when children sit in front of a nf text

They are waiting for something to happen – waiting for books and texts to learn them.

Research requires enthusiasm and chutzpah!

When Children sit in fronT of a NF TEXT
using statistics

Write a statistic at the top of the page. Have students write off it and write a question about it.

Level 1 (22% of adults) Canadians at this level have difficulty dealing with printed materials and have few basic skills for decoding or working with text. They most likely identify themselves as people who cannot read.

Using Statistics
problem at recess
Problem at Recess
  • What happened?
  • Why older students picked on us?

observe the world closely

  • always have their antennas ups
  • are curious and ask questions
  • are driven to figure things out
  • thinks about where to find important information
  • investigate different situations and scenarios
  • listen to others, yet think for themselves
  • make connections between their lives and their questions
Researchers …..

List events unfolding in front of you

Choose 1 detail and write about it in detail

Writing about it raises questions and you will never look at the object/activity the same way

Students need to write about something they know about

Short term observation gives students opportunity to record data Donald Graves

resources to support non fiction inquiry
Resources to support non-fiction inquiry
  • Maps, globes, and atlases
  • Phone books
  • Newspapers
  • Travel brochures
  • TV guide or a similar broadcast schedule
  • Almanacs
  • Guinness Book of Worlds Records
  • Calendars
  • Catalogues
  • Museum publications
  • Chars, graphs, and tables
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Thesauruses, dictionaries, style guides
  • Posters and quotations
  • Internet
use the community resources

Once it is known that a local school, wantsto learn from and build on community resources, all manners of persons come forward to recommend others who can contribute to children’s learning.

Use the community resources
overviewing the text

Note text length and structure

  • Note important headings and sub-headings
  • Determine what to read and in what order
  • Determine what to pay careful attention to
  • Determine what to ignore
  • Decide to skip text because it contains no relevant information
Overviewingthe Text
identifying non fiction features

Fonts and special effects – titles, headings, boldface print, colour print, italics …

  • Textual clues (for example, for instance, in fact, in conclusion, most important, but, therefore, on the other hand and such as ….)
  • Illustrations and photographs
  • Graphics – diagrams, overlays, word bubbles, tables, charts, graphs, framed text
  • Text organizers
Identifying Non-Fiction Features
research guidelines

Choose the source that will best serve your needs, and start there.

  • Skim and scan material before attempting to read it word for word
  • Mark important information with sticky notes for later reference
  • Ensure accuracy by rechecking information before recording it
  • Record bibliographic information in notebooks
  • Use what you already know to help understand new information
  • Use encyclopedias to begin research, not to model writing
  • Pay attention to publication dates
Research Guidelines

Check newspapers and weekly magazines for up-to-date information

  • Get on-line for up-to-the minute information
  • Scientific topics often require current information
  • Historic topics may require less-current information
  • Look to CD-ROMs/webcasts for live presentations
use internet for research when

the research needs to be current

  • the information is difficult to find in print
  • the information comes in primary-document form
  • the researcher has exhausted other possibilities
  • immediate conversations with professionals are needed
  • information provided by distant adults and peers will enhance the project
  • the researcher wants to share information with others
  • the researcher has a great deal of time to delve and explore
Use Internet for Research When
challenges of research

Is helping children write in their own voice

Students copying directly from the text

Using quotes properly

Moving students from a broad topic to a subtopic or else they keep circling the same research

As students start their research new problems emerge

Challenges of research
which process was more productive
Read the Following article to find the Main Idea?

Read the following article with this question in mind

  • What are the problems with setting up schools in a 3rd world country?
Which process was more productive?
madonna s foundation for malawi girls school collapses by adam nagourney published march 24 2011
Madonna’s Foundation for Malawi Girls’ School Collapses By ADAM NAGOURNEYPublished: March 24, 2011

Madonna visited Malawi in 2007. 

LOS ANGELES — A high-profile charitable foundation set up to build an all-girls’ school for impoverished students in Malawi, founded by the singer Madonna and fellow devotees of a prominent Jewish mysticism movement, has collapsed after spending $3.8 million on a project that never came to fruition. The board of directors of the organization, ’Raising Malawi, has been ousted and replaced by a caretaker board, including Madonna and her manager, officials with the organization said Thursday. Its executive director, who is the boyfriend of Madonna’s trainer, left in November amid criticism of his management style and cost overruns for the school, which included what auditors described as outlandish expenditures on salaries, cars, office space and a golf course membership, free housing and a car and driver for the school’s director. Most strikingly, the plans to build a $15 million school for about 400 girls in the poor southeastern African country of 15 million — which had drawn financial support from Hollywood and society circles, as well as the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre International, an organization devoted to Jewish mysticism — have been officially abandoned.


Help students read with a question in mind.

Ability to recount

Plan logistical arguments

Stating plans

Ability to write directions

Donald Graves

note taking

Note taking is an abstract of a text (written or spoken)

  • If you have been involved with a project, your writing will change, it will not be flat
  • Students must have an understanding of the topic to take careful, effective notes
  • Have a passage on the board and underline most important words or record data under the questions
  • tell others about your topic only using your note
  • Write for 10 minutes on the passage (no notes or books) and pass to a friend and friend responds orally or in writing
  • The object of a report is to help students demonstrate their knowledge
  • Reports should be a natural part of learning
  • Research can give us hobbies, passion, and a sense of mission
Note taking
how to help children with formal reports

begin note taking with a small group

  • begin with a topic the students know something about (if concepts are new this will be too much)
  • should be short
  • write a blurb about what you know
  • do a web (represent facts or ideas with a single word ) – may have to narrow the focus of the web
How to help children with formal reports  

think of some questions on the topic (some students may have to do more reading first) put each question on a separate piece of paper, when reading put information on that piece of paper, the number of questions depends on the children’s previous knowledge

  • periodically have group share
  • use picture books (information is fundamental and has illustrations)
  • students need to be conversationally acquainted with their subject LMC
reports beginning middle and end

Beginning: Lead that hook

  • Leads in the form of a question
  • Leads in the form of dialogue
  • Leads that raise questions
  • Leads that set a tone
  • Leads that inform
  • Leads that surprise


  • Develops and supports the central thesis
  • Has subtitles
  • Develops naturally
  • Has enough information/fact to support the thesis
Reports: Beginning, Middle, and End

Good endings capture the essence of the piece, wrap things ups, and conclude with a final sentence that fits.

  • Questions to help decide if you are finished
  • Did I include all needed information
  • Did I tie up loose ends
  • Do I have anything I still burn to say
  • Did I answer my original questions
  • Will the reader feel satisfied or at least challenged
  • Does the ending fit
interview guidelines

Listen carefully to the subject – you may find surprising information

  • Ask follow-up questions – they take the interview deeper
  • Ask mostly open-ended questions – yes and no questions can kill an interview before it gets off the ground
  • Ask specific personal and global questions – both types can provide rich information
  • Let the interviewee do the talking – live with the silence in order to find out more
  • Take charge when interviews go astray – if the interviewee rambles, redirect the focus by asking a generic question
  • Jot down key words and short notes during interviews – these should jog your memory later
  • Record important information in notebooks as soon as the interview is completed
Interview Guidelines