When we think about using nonfiction texts with students, there are a few things that usually give us pause.
First, nonfiction texts can be full of complex vocabulary and concepts, which makes them more difficult for students to read independently.
Second, nonfiction texts don’t always engage our readers. This can be because the text is too difficult for students to access. Or maybe the text is on a topic that a child has no prior schema about, or finds boring. Whatever the case is, a nonfiction text can feel like an engagement gamble.
But, we know how important it is to expose our students to nonfiction articles, even from a young age! it builds their background knowledge, grows vocabulary, and overall improves comprehension. Plus, as students get older, nonfiction texts get increasingly complex. We don’t want students to have gaps by not reading nonfiction enough in the primary years.
Today, I want to share with you my nonfiction articles that are sure to engage your readers for a variety of reasons!
Using Text with Photographs
In primary grades, it can be difficult to find texts with real illustrations that you can print and use yourself. But, when you can take the time to show your students real photos of what things look like, you are doing so much for them!
Research supports that, as students learn new vocabulary, pictures can help cement the meaning of words in their minds. So, in an article about lions, students may be exposed to new words such as ‘plains’ or ‘mane’. Having photos right next to the tex to reference quickly will help students understand these terms more completely. You are helping students build their schema, which serves them so well in the future!
Differentiation, Made Easy
Each of these article sets comes with three different versions for each topic included. This makes it easy to reach a variety of reading levels! If a student has more or less schema about the topic you’ve chosen, you can choose texts with different amounts of pictures, text length, and text complexity.
Reach a Variety of Readers
Though the photographs, varying reading levels, and range of engaging topics, these nonfiction passages are able to reach a wide variety of readers. As you help build students’ confidence in nonfiction reading in the primary grades, you will see their comprehension skills in ALL areas begin to soar!
On top of the reading growth you’ll see, you also can engage students in tasks that take them back in the text to find text evidence. This complex skill is highly emphasized in upper elementary, so K-2 is a great time to begin practicing!