Using non fiction text with students is a must in any classroom. It makes them better readers, prepares them for a type of text that they will always read (no matter their age), but the best part- kids LOVE it! My little friends become so engaged with the real photographs and learning new facts about the topic.
The Common Core heavily emphasizes the need for informational text to be included on a regular basis. Students are both supposed to be reading non fiction text at their ability level and be able to respond to the text showing their understanding. Now, this is where I struggled. I rarely find text that are appropriate for my youngest readers that are also interesting. I have plenty of NF text that I read to my little friends that they love, but I wanted text that they could read on their own, at their level. Mainly I’ve found that text is too simple or too hard for my little readers. Which is why I created these passages!
I like to use a combination of my own passages and text that I can read aloud to my little friends. I use the other NF text as a way to supplement what we learned in the passages. This way we are comparing what we learned from the different texts.
I used my passages with my little readers and they loved them! They enjoyed learning new facts about all the different animals. I even focused on the same passage for the entire week with them and they still liked it by Friday…always a good sign. 🙂 Each student has their own folder for the week full of pages that we complete as the week goes on. I first introduce my little friends to the main topic by displaying the main passage. We then create the K, W portion of a K, W, L chart. They also then write down anything they already know about the topic, write a prediction for something they may learn and a question they have about the topic.
The next few days we focus on responding to specific comprehension questions about the text, identifying key details, non fiction text features and vocabulary words. Each day we spend about 15-20 minutes rereading the text and completing the graphic organizers in their folders. We are addressing plenty of CCSS throughout the week!
On the last day, we focus on writing. We come back to our K, W, L chart and add any new things we have learned. We also create a “Can, Have, Are” chart together to help my little friends with their writing. These charts are a great way to ensure all students (no matter their ability level) will be able to write a few sentences about the topic.
The full 5-day format really engages my little friends and gives them multiple chances to show me they understood what they read! These passages can also be used as a one time comprehension check too if you are simply looking for ways to add more NF into your literacy block. You can even send them home for homework! In the classroom, these activities can be done in whole group, small group or even independent work during reading workshop (for your higher readers).
As I mentioned before, it is important for students not only to be exposed to NF text in read alouds, but they should also be doing the reading at their level as well. I have Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 2nd Grade Editions. The packs include 15 passages written at a readable level based on the grade level. In the kindergarten edition, the Lexile level of the passages 30-120. In the 1st grade edition, the Lexile level of the passages is 300-500. In the 2nd grade edition, the Lexile level of the passages is 500-650. My little friends have been successful in reading and responding to these NF passages. Makes my reading teacher heart happy! 🙂