It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday!
So often, I discover amazing nonfiction that I just can’t wait to read aloud. But it is equally exciting to find titles that will become part of our class nonfiction collection. Some Wednesdays, I’ve decided to share some titles that I will be adding to our nonfiction bins and some of the features I will highlight when I share them with the students.
I think our guiding questions and the information we point out when introducing books really helps our students have more success when reading the texts independently.
Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!
My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 95/65 complete!
The Worm by Elise Gravel (published 2014)
This Disgusting Critters series is something I am very excited to share with my students this fall. There is guaranteed kid appeal in the humour, the yucky facts and the conversational narration. Lots of bold text, speech bubbles and silly pictures. But, this is not a nonfiction title where you will find the features we often expect in a nonfiction title. There is no table of contents, glossary or index to organize facts. In fact the facts are found within the text – sometimes with bolded words and sometimes with diagrams that illustrate a point. No guarantees. A sample of the text:
“An earthworm is basically a long digestive tract with inside a muscle tube. It’s that muscle tube that’s slimy and disgusting.”
This is what I would highlight when I book talked this title:
- Notice that some of the new vocabulary is in bold
- Discover new facts by asking yourself at the end of the page, “Did I just learn something new?” “Was there a fact I could note on this page?”
- Appreciate the amusing way that the author communicates new information
- Choose another book on the same topic for further reading
I would pair Worms (part of the Creepy Creatures series) by Valerie Bodden with this book. This series is very popular in my classroom and the ideal reading level for primary students.
Wild about Bears by Jeannie Brett (published 2014)
This book highlights information about each of the eight species of bears on earth today. Can you name the specific eight? I couldn’t! There are some things that I really like about this title but a few things that might make it a little challenging for children to navigate. I would highlight each of these things in sharing this book.
- Check out the main headings on each two page spread that introduce us to one of the eight bear species. The common name is also included and may be the name you know. For example, Moon bears (the term I was familiar with) are actually part of the Asiatic Black Bears species. The weight range of each bear is also included here.
- Notice the habitat glossary in the back of the book that gives more information about the habitats where each bear species lives
- Refer often to the colour coded world map in the back to see where you can find each bear species
- Make sure you read some of the smaller text next to the diagrams for more information. Be aware though that these are not all captions – just additional information about each of the bear species. You might not see what the text is talking about in the picture.
- How do we learn new vocabulary in nonfiction text? Often our learning is reinforced and enhanced through bolded words, a glossary and an index. Notice that these things are missing in this text so you may need to look specific words up in other sources for more information.
- Would you have appreciated colour photographs of the bears – maybe in the back of the book to see what they looked like in the wild? Where could you go to find real life photographs of each species in their habitats?
Really like the idea of pairing the different worm books together. Could also work as mentor texts for slightly older students to design their own nonfiction books about a topic in perhaps less traditional ways. Cool!
Yes, great idea!
I learn so much from reading about how you approach books in your classroom, Carrie. I need to do more with paired texts at home reading to my son, I think. Powerful learning happens that way!
Thanks Elisabeth! I think there is a certain confidence when we begin another text with information that we already have learned from another title. It helps to reinforce the information!
Thanks Carrie for your differing approaches to each kind of book. I’ve seen The Worm reviewed earlier & that series is one I will share, and Wild About Bears looks and sounds terrific. We always have some student study bears & this would be a good start for research.
It is a good start for sure Linda. But for younger students, they will need some guidance finding more information. I am really excited to share the Disgusting Critters stories with my class!
Our kindergarten classes does a huge unit on bears! I put that book on hold at the library, may be a good one to add to their collection! I think I saw there is another book in the Disgusting Creatures series coming out soon – I think it was the slug!
Yes, Slug and Rat are next I think. I would like to have them all! The Bear book would be a good read aloud for K age. Reading in sections. Too long for one sitting.
This made me think about all of the other worm books that I have enjoyed. And congratulations on your 500th post.
Thanks Alyson! 500 is kind of monumental 🙂
You have such amazing ideas! I would love to work with you!
Wow Kellee, thank you! The feeling is very mutual!