Thursday, March 22, 2007

Nonfiction For Older Readers

Thanks again to Chronicle for these nonfiction books that will become fast favorites once I share them in my classroom.

I have been looking for longer nonfiction that students can read over several days. These books are great examples of books that fit that need. Too often, I am finding that my third and fourth graders are finding books with so much on a page, they can't really navigate it independently. So, they end up skimming, looking at photos, and flipping pages. But, with books like BABY WHALE'S JOURNEY and THE TRUTH ABOUT GREAT WHITE SHARKS, intermediate students can gain information from the pictures and the text.

BABY WHALE'S JOURNEY is more of a narrative text--sharing lots of information about the life of a baby whale. The illustrations are lifelike and will engage readers. There are not many words on the page so it is a great choice for children new to nonfiction. Following the narrative, is an afterword giving more information on the sperm whale.

is packed with information and photographs about great white sharks. There is a great deal of text on each page. The diagrams, sidebars, and photographs add more information. The text is set up with bold words and good spacing so that it won't be an overwhelming read for students in the middle elementary grades. The author gives us many "truths" about the great white shark. She shares information on the work of biologists who study sharks.

The Truth is...Great White Sharks Aren't White.
One of the things that spooks people who are diving with great whites is that the animals seem to appear suddenly, out of nowhere. One minute the ocean is empty in every direction, and the next thing you know, a great white shark is nibbling at the bars of your shark cage. Camouflage may be key to the shark's ability to sneak up on divers....

This is just one of the "truths" that the author shares about great white sharks. I learned a lot from reading this book. I am excited to share it with my students!

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