Monday, December 16, 2013

The Real Wonders of the World

I have been working hard to rethink the nonfiction portion of our classroom library to better meet the needs of third graders. I am looking for books that invite reading without having an overwhelming amount of text.  I find that kids need a transition from skimming and scanning to reading nonfiction and putting together all that is in text and visuals.

One new book I discovered at Cover to Cover last week is  Lonely Planet Not For Parents Real Wonders of the World. I am excited to share this with my students.  It might be hard to get it to school as my 14 year old keeps grabbing it to read. It is definitely a book that appeals to lots of ages.

The book is organized into several sections with a great Table of Contents to support readers.  Stupendous Structures, 102 High Tech Wonders and Fright Night are 3 of the categories.  Each category describes about 10 wonders.  Each wonder is described on a two-page spread.

The two-page spreads are really engaging thanks to the photos, color and interesting fonts. There are a few paragraphs of text on each page and there are also short facts, interesting "Wow Factors", great headings and more.  Years ago, we used to do a mini unit of study where kids created two-page spreads. This book reminds me what a powerful study that was as there are so many decisions that an author makes when creating a two-page spread.

We've been doing a lot of talk about skimming and scanning versus reading.  I like this book to help kids think about when to skim and scan and when to read more closely.  These are some of the first decisions a reader makes when approaching a nonfiction book like this.

There are lots of possibilities with this book. At first glance, it appears to be similar to lots of others that kids skim and scan but this one is of pretty high quality so I can see lots of learning coming out of this if I use pieces and parts for minilesson and small group work. Lots of possibilities!

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