Why read nonfiction?
A well-known study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (2010) found that the average U.S. child spends about 4 hours and 29 minutes a day watching TV, 2 and 1/2 hours listening to music, and 1 hour and 15 minutes playing video games. These same children were found to be reading about 25 minutes a day outside of school but only 4 of the minutes were spend reading nonfiction.
Enter the Common Core State Standards in 2012 and the demands are to increase nonfiction reading to be in balance with the amount of literature/fiction being read.
As teachers, we have pooled all of our resources and are working steadily to increase our students reading diets to include nonfiction. Through interactive read-alouds, guided reading groups, and units of study around nonfiction authors and topics, as well as guiding student choices around informational text for independent reading we have begun to make a dent in correcting the imbalance of literature versus informational reading.
How can you support at home?
- Read aloud nonfiction
- Give nonfiction books as gifts
- Use your public library
- Find books around topics of interest and discuss new information
- Find books the explain and show evidence
- Read about the authors’ credentials and discuss whether they are qualified to write on the topic
- Discuss the authors’ purpose – inform, persuade, etc
- Discuss new vocabulary
- Discuss the features that the authors included and why they chose to include – maps, charts, diagrams etc. Practice reading those features and what information you gain from them
- Look for opportunities to write informational text…recipes, how to’s, etc
Above all be a positive role model…let your child see you reading nonfiction and enjoying it. It is amazing how your enthusiasm will catch on!