Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Nonfiction--Short Pieces of Powerful Text

I discovered three great nonfiction books this week. I have been looking for books that help students build stamina for reading nonfiction text. Often, when we teach kids about text features, they learn to skim a little too well and don't often read the text that accompanies the visuals. By having a collection of great short pieces to use with kids, students see the power in reading pieces of nonfiction text.  I like books like this because they provide great nonfiction for independent reading and also provide great pieces for minilessons, shared reading and read aloud.

A Land of Big Dreamers: Voices of Courage in AmericaA LAND OF BIG DREAMS:  VOICES OF COURAGE IN AMERICA is a picture book that celebrated 13 Americans.  Each page features the words as well as a bit of information about one of these Americans.  Included in the book are Thomas Jefferson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and others.   The pages are organized in chronological order--beginning with Thomas Jefferson and ending with Barack Obama.  A quote by the famous American starts each page and a bit of information connected to the quote is explained following the quote.  The back of the book includes a short piece with biographical information on each of the 13.  This book is organized in a way that can really help children see the influence of others and the words that made a difference.

Totally Human: Why We Look and Act the Way We DoTOTALLY HUMAN: WHY WE LOOK AND ACT THE WAY WE DO by Cynthia Pratt Nicolson is this month's Junior Library Guild Selection for the category we receive. I was excited to see it as it was new to me and I am sure kids will love it.  This book shares the reasons we, as humans, do many of the things we do (hiccup, throw up, listen to music and love pets to name a few). Each two-page spread focuses on one of these questions and each question is followed by a pretty detailed explanation.  I like this book because it brings together difficult scientific concepts with fun illustrations to engage readers.  The text is written in a way that helps readers understand the basics of genetics and inherited features.  It does so in a very fun way, with topics that are interesting to children.  This book is pretty packed and can be read cover to cover or in short pieces.

Don't Touch That Toad and Other Strange Things Adults Tell YouI learned about DON'T TOUCH THAT TOAD AND OTHER STRANGE THINGS ADULTS TELL YOU by Catherine Rondina at the last Twitter #titletalk that was focused on nonfiction books. (If you have never participated in #titltetalk, it is a Twitter conversation around children's books hosted once a month on Sundays by Donalyn Miller and Paul Hankins. More info as well as archives can be found on the Title Talk Wiki). This is a small book that kids will love.  Each page focuses on something that kids have heard such as,  "If You Sit Too Close to the TV, You'll Ruin Your Eyes" and other common adult warnings.  Following each of these quotes, the authors answer whether the warning is true or false and go on to explain why in a short one page piece. This is a fun book filled with scientific answers and explanations.  As with the other books, the pages can be used individually as short text or the book can be read from cover to cover.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! These three selections sound great! I need some fresh nonfiction to entice readers. Going to the library tomorrow to ask for them!


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