• What We Will Learn About Nonfiction This Year:
     

    • Nonfiction is a text by an author who claims that what she is writing is real and true.


    • We need to know the source of nonfiction texts and determine if they are reliable sources.


    • We need to check the date of nonfiction texts, because the text might be outdated (think science and technology).


    • Nonfiction texts can be written to entertain, but usually they are written to inform and educate.  Sometimes nonfiction texts try to persuade and influence our thinking.  As critical readers, we must constantly be questioning ourselves about whether the author is trying to make us think a certain way..


    • Nonfiction texts contain main ideas and supporting details. When trying to summarize a text, it is helpful to “chunk” the text into paragraphs and use the main ideas of each paragraph to build a summary of the text.


    • Nonfiction texts have text features such as headings, subheadings, pictures, illustrations, captions, graphs, maps, diagrams, timelines, sidebars, “teasers”, bold and italic print, glossaries, table of contents, indexes.


    • Text features are used by readers to help navigate the text.  They are a good way to preview the text.  While the reader is previewing the text, they should be thinking: Who, what, where, why, when, and how.  This previewing strategy helps “velcro” the information to the reader’s thinking and helps the reader understand the text more effectively.


    • Nonfiction texts do not have plots, but have text structures that organize the information.  Text structures include: description, compare/contrast, sequence (chronological order), cause/effect, problem/solution.  Some nonfiction texts are hybrids, and contain more than one text structure. Knowing the text structure of a piece helps the reader organize the information in his head, which makes the information easier to understand and remember.


    • When reading nonfiction texts, good readers pay attention to numbers, dates, names, and any specific information within the text.


    • It is helpful to code or annotate the text, using symbols, so that the reader can interact with the text and make meaning from it.  Also, coding the text enables readers to go back into the text to “see” their “thinking.”  Additionally, it helps readers when they want to discuss the text with others. A reader can start a conversation with a point that is exciting, surprising, or something that needs to be clarified so the reader can understand the text better.


    • Sometimes readers have to slow their reading pace to read nonfiction, especially when the text is complex.


    • Sometimes there is specialized vocabulary in nonfiction texts (think Social Studies,, Science, and Technology).  A good reader uses context clues, and the structure of words (prefixes, roots, and suffixes) to try to understand a vocabulary word’s meaning.  Sometimes it is necessary to consult a dictionary.


    • When readers read historical nonfiction, primary sources are from the time period of an event (newspapers, diaries, pictures, letters) and secondary sources are AFTER the time period of the event (books, textbooks).  Sometimes texts will mix primary sources in with secondary sources.