Do you have students who can’t seem to get interested in class novels or short stories but love to check out informational books on library days!
When I was in the classroom, I seemed to have a number of these every year. Sure there was always one or two who just wanted the Guinness Book, or a similarly sensational title, each week, but others would seek out particular interests. One kid loved cook books, one went straight to the bios. Someone often took an interest in a book with a title along the lines of “How to Become a Video Game Designer.”
It’s all good reading and can contribute to a love of reading and a boost in reading skills. But free-choice non-fiction reading can be a challenge to work with. And sometimes, kids do get stuck on one topic of type of book. I made these two posters to show kids that there are lots of interesting non-fiction options out there, and to demonstrate the range of differences included under the heading “non-fiction.”
You can download the PDF of the posters for free here: Non-Fiction Genres Posters.
For a mini-lesson, I might begin by having the class brainstorm types of non-fiction books that they have read. Then share the posters, which the kids can keep in their notebook, and see how many of the types they came up with on their own. Share the idea that some lists of non-fiction genres may include more or less types and even include a different selection of genres. The kids may then be able to add a few more ideas of their own. Talk about which types they like best, and then have each student choose one or two new ones that they might like to try in the future.
Sometimes just free-reading these books is motivation to read more, and that may be all that is needed, but at other times, you may also want the kids to do some type of reading response in order to get more out of their how-to craft book or their true adventure book about a trip into the wilds of Alaska. That can be difficult due to the big variety of types of non-fiction out there for students.
I’ve made up a resource that I think may be helpful. It’s my set of reading response bookmarks – neat little foldables that the kids can keep right in their books as a bookmark (to help keep their place in the reading, and to help with not losing the book response form before the book is finished!) In the set there is one book-response bookmark for each of these whole-book non-fiction types:
- Biography/ Autobiography
- Informational Text
There is also one for books that are a collection of non-fiction topics (like those world record favorites!), as well as more for fiction genres and other collections including poetry. You can preview this set of book response bookmarks by clicking on this image:
It’s easy to understand why kids like these titles so much – it’s something about these real stories that just makes them jump out and get your attention. As much as I like to read novels myself, I’ve noticed many times that a library display of cook books, new biographies, or even books about teaching (oh my!) catches my own interest.
Here’s hoping that the next time this happens to you, you also find a few minutes to enjoy your new discovery!