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Garden City School Library: Nonfiction Texts

Essential Question

What is nonfiction and what are some features of nonfiction books?

Lesson 1 - Construction

  • Introduction: Ask the students if they can explain what fiction and nonfiction are. Let them know the difference, then give some examples. (If I wrote about a sock monkey who flew to the moon in a toy car, would that be fiction or nonfiction? If I wrote a book about an elephant family that I had studied for a nature TV show, and I included photographs I had taken, would that be fiction or nonfiction?)
  • Readalouds and discussion: Read XYZ

  • Activity: XYZ

  • Video: XYZ

Lesson 3 - Sloths

Lesson to come: I usually do this in the spring during RICAS, since we read multiple books to compare facts, which takes up time that would otherwise be used for checkout.


Lesson X - Compost 1

  • Introduction: Review the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Let the students know that you are going to give them more background information on topics that have to do with their current classroom unit: Our Earth.

  • Readaloud and discussion: Ask kids what they already know about compost, creating the K column of a KWL chart. Before reading Compost Basics by Mari Schuh (Pebble), point out the call number, the table of contents, and the glossary. Run down the list of terms in the glossary and see which ones they already know.

    After reading the book, ask what questions the students have for the K column of a KWL chart. Let them know you will find the answers next week.

  • Video: Show this SciShow video. 

  • Activity: While the students wait to check out, they can color a page from or from Thoughtfully Sustainable (need to sign up to download).

Lesson X - Compost 2

  • Review: Ask the students to share what they remember learning about compost last week and add it to the L column of a KWL chart. Next, review their "I Wonder" questions in the K column and ask them how we could try to find the answers in other books. (Answer: Table of contents!) 

  • Readaloud and discussion: Investigate the students' questions. Three books I used were Garden Squad: Composting by Dwayne Hicks (what you can compost, why composting is a good thing), Way to Grow! Gardening: Composting by Rebecca Pettiford (how to create a compost pile), and Composting: Nature's Recyclers by Robin Koontz (how the compost breaks down - decomposers and "mini-munchers).

    When you have collected all the information, work as a class to develop a paragraph summarizing what we learned. 

  • Activity: The kids can take turns coming to the front to play the National Geographic Recycle Roundup game (note: I had a hard time picking up the trash!).

    I'm trying to find a sorting game ... this one is a good start, but uses a lot of British terms. 

    You can download a 50-card bingo game with compostable items at Maybe have the kids play in groups during checkout?

    Considering making an indoor composter out of a 2-liter bottle using these directions from PBS Kids Nature Cat.

Standards Addressed

AASL1.1.4 - Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions (this is the standard under which fiction/nonfiction officially falls); 2.1.4 - Collaborate with others to exchange ideas, develop new understandings, make decisions, and solve problems3.1.2 - Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners; 4.1.1 - Read, view, and listen for pleasure and personal growth; 

Common Core: R.L.K.1 - With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text; R.I.K.10 - Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding