Nonfiction books have so much to tell your students and they're fun! | Mentoring in the Middle

Nonfiction books have so much to tell your students and they're fun!

 I remember walking into the library with my kids when they were young.  My son was maybe 8 or 9 and he headed right to the nonfiction section.  After choosing a few books, he sat down and started reading.  I said to him, "Come, why don't we look for a fun book for you to read?"  He looked at me quizzically and said, "These are fun."

Books and person reading with title, Read Nonfiction books

Can you tell I wasn't a teacher then?  I've come a long way in my appreciation of nonfiction books, and honestly, narrative nonfiction is probably my favorite genre today.  I love the mix of storytelling combined with learning about a person, topic, or event.  It's like a two-for-one special, a great story combined with history or with science!

That's why I'm encouraging you to consider nonfiction books for your classroom.  They're great for:

  • read alouds 
    • complement a topic you're teaching
    • introduce your students to this genre
    • they're filled with wonderful stories
  • independent reading
    • for some of your students, this is where their reading interests lie
    • some students want to dig deeper into something they learned about
    • some students need their reading choices stretched
  • small group reading
    • students can delve deeply into the same topic by having each group read a different book on the same topic
    • some students prefer to read nonfiction
Books that blend science or history with reading also lend themselves to great culminating activities, if you have the time.  That's why I always include a list of optional extension activities after every book study I create.

Take a look at some of these books and see if they might fit your needs next year.
A windmill in arid climate, representing the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
I blogged about using this book here.  You can take a closer look at the study guide here.
A rocket ship, representing the book Hidden Figures
You can read my blog post about Hidden Figures here.  And take a closer look here.
Malala Yousafzai, representing the book, I am Malala
I'm a huge fan of this young woman and blogged about her years ago, soon after her move to England. So long ago that my blog post is really dated!  But you can look at the book study guide here.

A lit candle representing the book, The Light in Hidden Places
I was blown away by this young woman's courage when I first read this book.  I knew I needed to make a reading guide available for it.
Crew team on the river representing the book, The Boys in the Boat
Another dated blog post, but worth reading if you want a summary of this book.  I created chapter questions for this one,

Are novel studies too much for you right now?  Would you rather have your students read a passage about a topic and respond to some questions?  Take a look at some of the ones I've written so far.  One on black holes and another on the Golden Record will be coming soon!

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