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How much nonfiction do your students read?

Teaching nonfiction can be difficult; it relies on background knowledge that some students may not have, and because it contains different types of features, it reads differently than fiction. Kids can learn to navigate nonfiction. Here are some resources that might help.

Nicki Clausen-Grace and Michelle Kelley, two educators, offer up a great teaching tip for helping students navigate features of nonfiction text that students might overlook. Teachers help students brainstorm a list of text features that exist in nonfiction. These might include headings, pictures, captions, maps. A bulletin board is divided into sections, and using magazines, newspapers, and other print resources, students cut out and mount the examples into the correct area on the mural. See our related article: Guiding Students Through Expository Text with Text Feature Walks by Clausen-Grace and Kelley.

A similar idea from Classroom 2.0 uses text mapping (opens in a new window) — a scroll made from several pages of the book glued together. Students in going on a “treasure hunt” in search of text features. Features are highlighted and labeled. Scrolls help students see the text in its entirety and can be marked up depending on your instructional focus. You can find more resources from the Text Mapping Project.

About the Author

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Publication Date
July 22, 2010