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Easy Nonfiction Books. Format Mini-Lesson By Beth Friese EDIT 6340 Spring 2005. What is a nonfiction book?.

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easy nonfiction books

Easy Nonfiction Books

Format Mini-Lesson

By Beth Friese

EDIT 6340

Spring 2005

what is a nonfiction book
What is a nonfiction book?
  • Most definitions of nonfiction say little more than “not fiction.” For this presentation, books are assumed to be printed pages written about a certain topic or theme, bound together into a single volume.
  • Robert Root, from Central Michigan University, offers the following alternative definitions for “nonfiction”, among others:
    • “The written expression of, reflection upon, and/or interpretation of observed, perceived, or recollected experience;
    • A genre of literature made up of such writing, which includes such subgenres as the personal essay, the memoir, narrative reportage, and expressive critical writing and whose borders with other reality-based genres and forms (such as journalism, criticism, history, etc.) and are fluid and malleable” (Root, 2002).
selection criteria for nonfiction books
Selection Criteria for Nonfiction Books
  • According to Phyllis J. van Orden and Kay Bishop, in their book The Collection Program in Schools: Concepts, Practices and Information Sources, selection criteria for books include:
    • Quality of binding and materials used
    • Appropriateness of shape, weight, typeface and spacing to intended audience
    • Appropriate use and placement of illustrations
    • Accurate and current content
    • Value to the collection and literary merit
    • Cost

(Van Orden and Bishop, 2001).

instructional uses
Instructional Uses
  • Reading nonfiction requires instruction in itself. Nonfiction books are organized differently than fiction books and require additional reading strategies.
  • The technique of shared reading can help students learn to approach such elements as the incorporation of maps, illustrations with captions, charts, and other techniques that provide additional information not included in the primary text.
instructional uses part 2
Instructional Uses, part 2
  • Modeling the reading of nonfiction using methods such as SQ3R and big books gives students the tools they need to become successful readers of nonfiction materials.
  • Negotiating easy nonfiction is a stepping stone to mastery of textbooks in later grades, especially in natural and social sciences, where captions, charts, and other such tools are regularly incorporated.
instructional uses part 3
Instructional Uses, part 3
  • Many easy nonfiction books are perfect enhancements to classroom units. Some examples would be book series focusing on Community Helpers, science concepts such as magnetism, and holidays throughout the year.
  • Nonfiction books are also a great source for leisure reading.
instructional tips
Instructional Tips
  • Easy nonfiction can be a great motivator for reluctant readers. Find books that relate to a favorite hobby.
  • Encourage teachers to include easy nonfiction in their classroom libraries.
  • Select easy nonfiction titles for story time. The more regular the exposure to this material, the greater the comfort level of the student. Highlight these books in book talks for early grades.
  • Give students a quick tour of some of the books in the section, focusing on such favorites as animals and sports related subjects.
personal recommendations
Personal Recommendations
  • The National Council for Teachers of English sponsors the annual Orbis Pictus Award, which promotes and recognizes excellence in writing of nonfiction for kids. See the list of winners and honor books at www.ncte.org/elem/awards/orbispictus. The website also sells a book that focuses solely on teaching Orbis Pictus winners.
  • There are also nonfiction Caldecott Honor Books.
  • Folklore, poetry and biographies are often overlooked in this section! They are treasures!
personal recommendations part 2
Personal Recommendations, Part 2
  • The Media Specialist I interviewed (Amy Reed, personal communication, January 26, 2005) recommended the series with the subtitle “A True Book”, published by Children’s Press, a division of Grolier Publishing.
  • Have lots of animal books on hand! (The Media Specialist (Reed) said she can’t keep them on the shelves no matter how many she buys.)
personal recommendations part 3
Personal Recommendations, Part 3
  • PowerKids Press has an interesting series called “A Character Building Book.” Each title focuses on teaching a certain character trait by looking at the life of a historical figure, past or present. For example, Learning About Bravery from the Life of Harriet Tubman, by Kiki Mosher. These touch on much of the character curriculum while incorporating realistic fact-based content. This particular book could be read during Black History Month.
sources for easy nonfiction books
Sources for Easy Nonfiction Books

-Grolier and Children’s Press (Zoobooks, Eyewitness and others)

www.scholasticlibrary.com/grolierdocs/home.html

-Abdo Publishing (Checkerboard and others)

www.abdopub.com

-Capstone Press (Pebble, First Facts and others)

www.capstonepress.com

-Kids Can Press

www.kidscanpress.com

bibliography
Bibliography

Mosher, Kiki. (1996). Learning about Bravery from the Life of Harriet Tubman. New York: PowerKids Press.

National Council of Teachers of English. (n.d.) NCTE Orbis Pictus Nonfiction Award. Retrieved January 25, 2005 from: http://www.ncte.org/elem/awards/orbispictus

Root, Robert. (2002). Variations on a Theme of Putting Nonfiction in its Place. Presentation Text, CCCC, March 23, 2002. Retrieved January 26, 2005 from: http://www.chsbs.cmich.edu/Robert_Root/Background/Variations.htm

Scott, Jill E. (1994). Teaching Nonfiction with the Shared Book Experience. Reading Teacher, 47 (8), 676-679.

Snowball, Diane. (1995). Building Literacy Skills through Nonfiction. Teaching PreK-8, 25 (8), 62-63.

Van Orden, Phyllis J. & Bishop, Kay. (2001). The Collection Program in Schools: Concepts, Practices and Information Sources. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.