Encourage your children to select both fiction and non-fiction text to read this summer. Text = book, magazine, cereal box, guide, map, graphic novel, encyclopedia, Internet, and so on. Read my specific non-fiction book recommendations from the first part of 2011.
But, non-fiction reading is harder for most children than reading fiction simply due to lack of practice. Keep that in mind when you’re choosing reading materials. It takes practice with the text structure and vocabulary of non-fiction text to proficiently comprehend.
Non-Fiction Comprehension Strategies
Here are some important things your child needs to know and practice when reading non-fiction text.
Word Attack Skills
- learn prefixes and suffixes
- find smaller words in the word
- find and use the glossary
- use phonics skills to sound out scientific words
Text Structure Skills
- Learn about headings, captions, diagrams and photos.
- Learn how to find the most important information — usually in the first sentence of paragraphs.
- Learn to recognize bold face words as important to know.
Non Fiction Reading Comprehension Strategies – Before, During and After
- Allow your child to choose what topic to read about. Choice is essential.
- Help your child ask questions about what he or she wants to learn.
- Help your child separate interesting details from important facts.
- Read non-fiction in short bursts.
- Connect what you read to your life. Discussion helps.
Connect Reading to Writing
Most of the time we ask children to write non-fiction but don’t connect to real non-fiction examples. Take one of your child’s favorite texts to use as a model, pick a similar topic, and imitate the style of that favorite non-fiction book. All writers use models, or mentor text, to become better writers and learn a new technique or style. It’s not only okay to use mentor text, it’s an important, if not essential, way to grow as a writer.