Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Non Fiction Books We Love

Non Fiction Books We Love

Thank you for joining us again this week as we link up with some fabulous teacher-bloggers, hosted by Minute Mommy, to discuss non fiction books we love.

Lets face it, with so many distractions competing for our children's time, often, it can seem like a small miracle to simply watch them open any old book.  However, research is showing us that this alone may not be enough.  WHAT children are reading is just as equally as important as how much they are reading.  It is becoming clear that children need to be reading informational (non fiction) texts, from the earliest grades on up, which makes this week's post even more exciting to talk about.
  Why is non fiction reading so important for children?
*Non Fiction text requires the reader to really focus on what is being read.  
*Non fiction text can not be read by simply skimming a paragraph without understanding what was previously read.  
*Non fiction text can not be read without understanding the vocabulary being used.

Do we have you convinced on just how important it is for children to be reading Non-Fiction text?
I thought so. :) 
Though it may come off initially sounding like a boring genre of reading, there are so many fun and engaging texts available for children.  Let's start with one of my favorite non fiction series, the ever so popular:

Who Would Win? series by Jerry Pallotta

If you have a child in 2-4th grade, and have not seen them reading these books, now is the time to check these science based books out!  These books are really appealing to the boys in my classroom & I LOVE seeing boys excited about reading!  In each book, children learn about 2 dangerous animals who would most likely never meet in the wild, and what makes each a fierce predator.  The books are loaded with tons of colored pictures and easy to read facts, building on the question- "Who would win?"  Readers can use these facts to come to a conclusion on which animal they think would be the winner. 

The Truth about Bats by Eva Moore

Another one of my favorite non fiction series is the Magic School Bus Books.  This series can be found in easy to read books as well as more challenging chapter books.  I enjoy using the chapter books with my students.  Though these books are not 100% non fiction (the main characters are fictional as well as parts of the plot) there is still a TON of non fiction text for children to devour.  I love the variety of non fiction text features used throughout the book.

 I use this book around Halloween time as a whole class read.  My students really enjoy learning about bats and all the additional informational text activities from this novel study I created to go with the novel- The Truth About Bats.

You can find everything you need to keep your kiddos busy and learning really any time of the year.

My turn, my turn! Haha. Karen here. Let me first say that non fiction has never been a favorite of mine, however I jumped on the bandwagon and made it work for me and my kindergarten students a few years ago when I came to the realization that it's what kids NEED, as Kelie stated above. :) To make it work for my little learners short attention spans, we used Closed Reading techniques and visited the text in small chunks throughout the week. We enhanced our knowledge (and kept our interest and thus engagement high) by tossing in some short YouTube videos relating to our topics which had been previewed and carefully selected beforehand if you know what I'm sayin'. My team asked me to create PowerPoint presentations using a lot of sight words and with a word bank at the end and surprisingly because those were short and sweet, the kids really liked them so we didn't always use actual books but our kids were still getting real, factual information. Anyhow... here goes...

National Geographic Kids: Bats! by Elizabeth Carney

Great minds think alike! I think my favorite non-fiction read aloud was Bats! a National Geographic Reader, Level 2 by Elizabeth Carney. Like Kelie, my kindergarten class would read this book every October. I used closed reading techniques and we visited the text daily throughout the week. There were a lot of "Ohhhhs" and "Ahhhhs" during this read aloud. Bats are simply fascinating creatures. They loved learning about what types of food they eat, where they live, and how they actually feel the vibration of insects and can pinpoint their exact location. We would also tie this into our writing and for the first three days of the week we would do a step-by-step directed drawing (pencils up, eyes on me!) and then write about bats. For our "Fun Friday" time we wrapped up our week long study on bats by making bat hats! Some of my students wrote -at word family rhyming words on their sentence strips. They had so much fun!

National Geographic Kids: Penguins! by Anne Schreiber

Who doesn't love penguins!? They're just too adorable. Before we dove into Penguins!, a National Geographic Kids, Level 2 Reader by Anne Schreiber, I asked my students what they knew about penguins. Surprisingly they knew quite a bit already thanks to some great kids' flicks about them. :) Penguins was always a favorite January topic. Again, we used Close Reading techniques to share this book with our students throughout the week. They really loved all the pictures; National Geographic for Kids are GREAT for pictures! My students found it both interesting and disgusting how the baby penguins were fed regurgitated food.  They also found it really sad that penguins had so many natural predators. This led to discussions about nature taking its course which I'm sure was above many of their heads. Ha-ha. Again we did a directed drawing for the first 3 days of the week, brainstormed a word list, and wrote stories about penguins. For our "Fun Friday" activity, to wrap up our week long study, we made penguins by tearing and gluing construction paper. They all came out so unique.

Thank you for reading, we love your comments!
Please click the picture below to go to the next non-fiction blog post we're sure you will love.


  1. I love the National Geographic books as well! Thanks for these great ideas!

  2. I NEED those Who Would Win books!!!! I have a boy going into 3rd that I tutor who is CONSTANTLY asking that question. He'll pose hypothetical questions... "Who would win: a shark or a whale?" and so on. He would probably go nuts over these. Thanks for posting!

  3. They are pretty awesome :) I love that they have strong academic vocabulary and are high interest! I hope he enjoys them :)