In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about nonfiction reading strategies. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Reading Nonfiction topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Reading Nonfiction
Parts of a Book
Remind students that nonfiction is writing shares facts and information. Then have students collect several nonfiction books. How do they know that the book is nonfiction? Have students describe their book to the class and point out different parts of the book: table of contents, glossary, index, captions, photographs, labels, etc. Have students compare and contrast different nonfiction books. Which books have glossaries? Which books have photographs with labels? Write students’ ideas on the board and discuss them together.
Fiction and Nonfiction
Together as a class, pick a topic that everyone is interested in such as a particular animal, a national park, a historical figure, or even a distant country. Then pick a nonfiction and a fiction book about the same topic. For example, if the class were interested in bears, then the students could read “The Three Little Bears” and read a nonfiction book about bears in the wild. Have students compare and contrast the books. How did they know that it was nonfiction or fiction? How are the books alike? How are they different? Have students write their ideas down in a Venn diagram or other graphic organizer to collect and organize their ideas.
Authors Research to Write!
Have students choose a topic they are interested in, such as a specific animal, place they would like to visit, a historical figure or event, or even an important person in their life. Have students write their own nonfiction piece about their subject. Help them research their topic in the library or on the internet and help them create an outline before they begin writing. Students may want to have their partners serve as fact checkers, to help them make sure the information they recorded was accurate. Have students title their book and add a table of contents and glossary. They may wish to add photographs and pictures to their books and write captions and labels for each. Add the works to your library so students and have students discuss the nonfiction writing process.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Reading Nonfiction
Classify Your Home Library
Have your child organize the books in your home into fiction and nonfiction books. Have him or her label each book and alphabetize the collection. As your child labels each book, ask him or her to explain how they know it is fiction or nonfiction. If the book is nonfiction, have your child look through the book and describe each part.
Because most children prefer to read fiction, it is important to foster a love of nonfiction. Together with your child, visit your local library and browse the nonfiction section. Pick out nonfiction book to read together. Set up a goal to read five nonfiction books a month and keep track of how many books your child read. If he or she meets the goal, reward your child with more free choices. They may start to choose nonfiction!
Have your child put together a nonfiction reading list. He or she can ask friends, family members, librarians, and his or her teacher to collect nonfiction titles. Even book clubs have recommended nonfiction reading lists. Have your child write the titles down and whenever he or she is in need of a book to read, they can consult their list.
Journals and diaries are examples of nonfiction writing. Encourage your child to keep a journal or diary and write in it everyday. Not only will this help your child improve his or her writing skills, but also it will give an opportunity for your child to look back and see how he or she has grown personally. Diaries and journals allow children to see their progress and record important experiences. Think of different topics for your child to write about, such as their daily activities, their hopes and dreams, what they would like to do when they grow up, etc.