Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thinking about nonfiction

     I've been thinking harder about teaching with nonfiction this year and have tried out some new resources, new strategies, and new anchor texts. Today a strategy we tried seem to make sense. We have been talking about how readers take in a lot of information when they read nonfiction and they have to pause to "push the SAVE button" on information they think is important or information they want to make "sticky" (Readers make important thinking "sticky" or allow it to stick to their brains by jotting/writing about it and talking about it). They have to use headings to find main ideas and then search for important details to save about a topic.
      Readers also have to pause to THINK about the information they are taking in. We ask questions, think about schema we have filed away on the topic, infer, predict, etc.
     So today we decided to pause and save, then pause and think. We read chunks of text together. Partners turned and talked to SAVE, discussing what they thought was important vs interesting. Next they turned and talked to THINK about the information. Simple strategy, but it helped us think about what quality reader's response entries might look like using nonfiction. They might show readers saving important information and thinking about it using strategies or "reading powers" to help them understand the topic more deeply. It also allowed us to notice all the different types of thinking readers do about nonfiction.
     I'm hoping pausing to save and pausing to think will build deeper understandings of nonfiction students read. I'm going to start using short nonfiction articles for students to save and think on as a weekly routine, that will hopefully bring on some good discussions on how readers remember, understand and extend meaning of what they read.

Below are some of our anchor charts to guide our thinking.

Anyone have any must use nonfiction anchor texts? I'm really trying to beef up my nonfiction read alouds! 

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorites is Predator Showdown! It takes two well-known animals that are known as predators and compares them to see who would win if they were to meet in the wild. Typically, they are two animals that would not encounter each other based on geography. Each spread page has tons of non-fiction conventions and lots of room for debate! I begin by using a short video clip of each animal, just to stimulate background knowledge. And yes...the book tells you who they think would be the winner. Great book!!!!