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Nonfiction for Kids

Many kids are drawn to nonfiction — and learning about science, history, and geography through illustrated informational books and picture book biographies. Browse our nonfiction picture books and discover tips on how to get the most out of reading nonfiction. 

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Children are naturally fascinated by the lives of real people and the world around them. And building background knowledge is key to children’s academic success. 

Our resources can help you find great nonfiction picture books and offer tips on how to get the most out of reading nonfiction. Nonfiction can sometimes turn a reluctant reader into an enthusiastic one!

Reading Adventure Packs

Our Reading Adventure Packs encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. Each themed pack includes recommended titles and three activities inspired by the books. Topics include dinosaurs, bees, building, music, cooking, weather, robots, oceans, flight, stars archaeology and more. Browse our Reading Adventure Packs

Start with a Book

What does your child love to explore and learn about? Explore dinosaurs, bugs, birds, planes, music, sports, superheroes, inventors, art, the night sky, the ocean, and more — 24 themes in all. For each theme, you’ll find hundreds of recommended books, hands-on activities, educational websites, interactive apps and more. Visit Start with a Book (opens in a new window)

Literacy in the sciences

Here you’ll find ideas for pairing STEM-themed books with hands-on activities, booklists, interviews with children’s authors, links to science-themed shows from PBS Kids, and more. Literacy in the Sciences

Tip sheets for parents

Written especially for parents, our Growing Readers newsletter (available in English and Spanish) provides monthly tips for raising strong readers and writers. Browse Growing Readers

Getting the most out of nonfiction reading time

Nonfiction books give kids a chance to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden their view of the world. Learn how to take a “book walk” with a new nonfiction book and how to model active reading. Getting the Most Out of Nonfiction Reading Time

How to read nonfiction text

Many kids love to read about science and nature as well as real people, places, and events. Nonfiction books present information in engaging and interesting ways. Find out how you can help your child learn to navigate all the parts of a nonfiction book — from the table of contents to the diagrams, captions, glossary, and index. How to Read Nonfiction Text

Developing research and information literacy

Explore two ways you can help your child begin to develop information literacy: learning to tell the difference between fact and opinion, and figuring out if a source of information is reliable. Developing Research and Information Literacy

The night before the museum

Day trips, vacations and special outings create special memories and great learning opportunities for families. The time leading up to your trip can be filled with excitement and adventure too! Whether you’re going to the zoo, the museum, or a state park, here are a few “stops” to make before your visit to help your child get the most out of a family or school educational experience. The Night Before the Museum

A fresh look at your home library

Having interesting things to read at home is a great way to keep kids motivated. Below are a few questions to ask yourself about your home library. Some simple changes on your part can help you create an amazing home library, and help your child develop an early love of reading! A Fresh Look at Your Home Library

The importance of reading widely

Sharing lots of different kinds, or genres, of books with your child exposes him to different words, different kinds of images, and whole new worlds. This tip sheet suggests some genres to try with your young reader that complement ‘traditional’ fiction. Some are suggestions for read alouds, while others may be ones your child can read on his own. The Importance of Reading Widely

How parents can support the Common Core Reading Standards

Is your school using the new Common Core standards? This is a big change for students — and their parents. Get to know what the four main areas of the Common Core reading standards mean and simple things you can do at home to help your child build skills in these areas. How Parents Can Support the Common Core Reading Standards

Preparing 21st century learners

Our interconnected and digital world demands a lot of our learners. Here are five simple ways to help build your child’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Preparing 21st Century Learners

Position Statement on the Role of Nonfiction Literature (K–12)

“Contemporary nonfiction for young people plays a crucial role in the reading and writing lives of K–12 students. It is a rich and compelling genre that supports students’ development as critically, visually, and informationally literate 21st century thinkers and creators.” Read more in this position statement from the National Council of Teachers of English. Position Statement on the Role of Nonfiction Literature (K–12) (opens in a new window)

Finding great nonfiction

Featured video: nonfiction for kids

Voices of children’s authors

In the classroom

Nonfiction in the classroom

A quick guide to selecting great informational books for young children

Exposing children to a variety of informational text will stimulate development of background knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. In this article, take an imaginary trip to a children’s museum and learn how to choose quality, high-interest informational books for young readers. A Quick Guide to Selecting Great Informational Books for Young Children

What teachers need to know about the “new” nonfiction

Children’s nonfiction picture books is a genre that is exploding in both quality and quantity. Recent nonfiction books reveal an emphasis on the visual, an emphasis on accuracy, and an engaging writing style. Suggestions are included for choosing and using nonfiction picture books in the classroom. What Teachers Need to Know About the “New” Nonfiction

Five kinds of STEM-themed nonfiction books for kids

It’s a great time for children’s nonfiction! In recent years, these books have evolved into five distinct categories. Learn more about the characteristics of traditional nonfiction, browse-able nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, expository literature, and active nonfiction. Five Kinds of STEM-themed Nonfiction Books for Kids

Teaching nonfiction: articles for educators

From Melissa Stewart, a children’s writer and enthusiastic advocate for encouraging kids to read more nonfiction and supporting educators in teaching with nonfiction books. Teaching Nonfiction: Articles for Educators (opens in a new window)

Building world knowledge: motivating children to read and enjoy informational text

Exposing young children to informational text early on can help them to handle the literacy demands of fourth grade and beyond. Practical instructional techniques can be used to promote understanding and enjoyment of informational texts. The three techniques described here — Text Impression, Guiding Questions, and the Retelling Pyramid — can help children become familiar with the language and structure of non-fiction books.Building World Knowledge: Motivating Children to Read and Enjoy Informational Text

Implementing the text structure strategy in your classroom

Learn how to implement a research-based text structure strategy that infuses text structures at every step of reading comprehension instruction, beginning with the introduction of the lesson, previewing of text, selecting important ideas, writing a main idea, generating inferences, and monitoring comprehension. Implementing the Text Structure Strategy in Your Classroom

Guiding students through expository text with text feature walks

The text feature walk guides students in the reading of text features in order to access prior knowledge, make connections, and set a purpose for reading expository text. Results from a pilot study illustrate the benefits of using the strategy, and practical suggestions for implementation are offered. Guiding Students Through Expository Text with Text Feature Walks

Using compare-contrast text structures with ELLs in K-3 classrooms

This article explains (a) how to teach students to identify the compare-contrast text structure, and to use this structure to support their comprehension, (b) how to use compare-contrast texts to activate and extend students’ background knowledge, and (c) how to use compare-contrast texts to help students expand and enrich their vocabulary. Although these strategies can benefit all young learners, the compare-contrast text structure is particularly helpful to ELL students. Compare, Contrast, Comprehend: Using Compare-Contrast Text Structures with ELLs in K-3 Classrooms

Increasing ELL student reading comprehension with nonfiction tText

One of the most important skills students learn as they transition into middle and high school is how to get information from a nonfiction text. This skill can be especially challenging for ELLs, who may not have had much experience working independently with expository texts. This Bright Ideas article offers ways that teachers can help ELLs work effectively with nonfiction texts and includes strategies for introducing components, structure, and purpose of expository texts. Increasing ELL Student Reading Comprehension with Nonfiction Text

Introducing science concepts to primary students through read-alouds

This study of first and second graders looked at teacher-led read-alouds as a way to introduce science concepts. Results suggest that multiple exposures to a related concept across different stories gave students more time to build a mental representation of important ideas. This evidence suggests that moving beyond a single text as a source for building students’ understanding is an important instructional approach. Introducing Science Concepts to Primary Students Through Read-Alouds: Interactions and Multiple Texts Make the Difference

A primary grade science unit using the Language Arts/Literacy Common Core State Standards

With the Common Core, literacy is intentionally taught within content areas. See what a CCSS mini-thematic unit in science might look like for children in the primary grades. A Primary Grade Science Unit Using the Language Arts/Literacy Common Core State Standards