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Nonfiction in Guided Reading

Are you using nonfiction in Guided Reading? If you aren’t yet, now is a great time to begin doing so! There are so many benefits to including nonfiction texts in guided reading groups. Read on to find out how you can include nonfiction in Guided Reading.

Finding Nonfiction texts for guided reading

The first thing you’ll need to do is find texts that are at students’ instructional reading levels. Texts need to be at their instructional level so students do not get overly frustrated when reading in small groups. Doing this in guided reading is very important, so that you can guide them as they make their way through nonfiction texts. 

There are many great book series out there now, that can be used. Scholastic has a lot of great nonfiction books, for all ability levels. 

Some series students love:

  • National Geographic Kids
  • Now I Know
  • Who Would Win?
  • Scholastic First Biographies
  • Who Was …?
  • Discover

Some other resources you can use:

Nonfiction guided reading passages

Magazines (Scholastic News, for example)

Newspapers (digital, or print)


Videos (BrainPop, for example)


Just make sure you look for nonfiction texts with rich content specific vocabulary so students can apply their word attack strategies to challenging words they may only find in nonfiction texts.

Once you’ve found good nonfiction resources to use in your guided reading groups, it’s time to get your students reading! 

  1. I recommend first doing some word work with relation to the words that will appear in their texts, based on reading level. This includes a focus on content specific vocabulary that appears in the texts. 
  2. Then, let students read! Guide them when needed, helping them know which word attack strategies to apply. 
  3. Next up, discuss the text and complete comprehension activities. 
  4. You can also follow up with completing running records with students to informally assess their ability to read nonfiction texts at their instructional level.

ComPrehension with nonfiction

nonfiction in guided reading

As with any guided reading lesson, you should spent a few minutes completing comprehension activities. With the nonfiction texts, you’ll want to focus on standards for informational text. Ensure students are able to show what they learned about the topic. They should not only be sharing interesting facts they learned, but also responding to specific questions. These questions may relate to identifying the topics, key details, and purpose of the text. Students should also be able to provide information about content specific vocabulary that was in their text. 

A focus on comprehension with nonfiction texts, in guided reading groups, is incredibly meaningful. Knowing students will spend their lives reading informational texts, this starts them off on the right foot!

All my nonfiction guided reading passages come with specific written response comprehension questions. Once students complete their responses, you can discuss what was learned as a group, expanding each student’s knowledge base.

Vocabulary Extension Activity

nonfiction in guided reading

One more thing I highly recommend doing is extending what was focused on, or learned, in guided reading groups. This can be done in a literacy center, or independent literacy time.

You can create a simple center, that can be done following a guided reading group, using vocabulary cards, and letter tiles. 

Vocabulary Extension Activity:

  1. Grab small containers- the photo containers work great for this.
  2. Place one vocabulary card in each container.
  3. Add letter tiles that make up the word on the vocabulary card.
  4. Provide a copy of the passage read.
  5. Place all these items at a center/station.
  6. Students will then choose one container at a time, and make the word, pictured on the vocabulary card.
  7. After making the word, students can find that word in the text, and reread the sentence containing the vocabulary word.

You can also check out the video below to see how I set these up.

All of my Nonfiction Guided Reading Passages packs include vocabulary cards, for each passage. You would just simply need to add the letter tiles, to recreate these word work activities. These are a great way to take the nonfiction guided reading and extend students’ practice with content specific vocabulary. 

I have more nonfiction reading strategies you can use with your students ASAP!

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Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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