1.) Use mentor texts. I love mentor texts, so I try to find nonfiction texts that I can use for any subject – science, social studies, and even math! I also try to find nonfiction texts that are not as dry and boring. Many new nonfiction books are starting to have a kid-friendly feel to them and read more like fiction. I have written many different blog posts for nonfiction texts that you may want to check out. For example, the books No Monkeys, No Chocolate, I Don’t Like Snakes, or What If You Had Animal Hair!? are all engaging nonfiction books! Click on the heading Mentor Texts (above) to check out more!
2.) Provide students with more nonfiction reading passages. There are a wealth of nonfiction reading passages on Teachers Pay Teachers. Additionally, using magazines such as Time for Kids or Scholastic News is another way to provide students with high interest nonfiction reading. You don’t even have to have a subscription to read some of these magazine articles online.
3.) Create a bulletin board titled “I Bet You Didn’t Know…” with lots of interesting facts on topics you are studying or just random fun facts to catch students’ interests! Wonderopolis is a fun site for students to read a “fun fact of the day!”
4.) Book talks. I love book talks. Each week I like to hand select a book with which to “tease” my students a bit. I read the book ahead of time and pick a small section that will definitely hook them. I read it to them and pique their interest. That usually begins the “waiting list” for the text. You can also have students create their own book talks by creating book trailers.
5.) Current events. Depending on the grade I’m teaching and my student’s ability to handle it, I will sometimes implement a “Current Events” activity for the week. Each week students have to find a news article on the internet (a great opportunity to teach students about credibility on the internet) or through a local newspaper. They have to read the article, give a summary of the article, and write their viewpoint of it. Then, we turn these in or share. It’s interesting the articles students will pick and share. (They staple the article to their writing piece.)
6.) Inquiry-based learning. Sometimes it can seem like inquiry-based learning is lengthy. At least it does for me. But there is some great value in inquiry based learning – and the opportunity for students to utilize nonfiction books to research their ideas and topics.
7.) Independent topics. If you don’t feel you have the time for inquiry based learning, you could always provide some of your students (especially those who need to have more enrichment) with independent studies. They choose a topic they would like to investigate and, after your approval, research. They then present to you and/or the class their findings. Students who are chasing their interests are more likely to learn.
8.) Read alouds. While this one is similar to using mentor texts, sometimes it’s nice to share a book without using it for a “teaching moment.” Choose a nonfiction book that reads like a fiction text or is related to a study of topic just to read for enjoyment. This shows students what a good reader sounds like, and it’s relaxing.
9.) Have a monthly author study. Each month, choose to focus on an author of multiple books. It’s not limited to just fictional authors. There are many great nonfiction authors, such as Seymour Simon and Gail Gibbons.
10.) Lastly, provide a nonfiction reading challenge. Expose students to a variety of nonfiction types by having them take a nonfiction reading challenge.