How might we know if a text is fiction or nonfiction? We discussed and sorted the different Features of Fiction and Nonfiction Texts.

Then, we took a closer look at nonfiction texts to see if we can identify some of the terms related to nonfiction texts.  We identified these features in different texts. 

We have been sorting through the books in our classroom library, organizing the texts and deciding how we want to group them together.

We know that readers of nonfiction books do an extra-brainy, intense kind of thinking. Readers pay attention to details and think, “How can I put together what I am seeing, to grow ‘knowledge’ of this topic?”

As readers, we don’t just grab on to one detail that we notice. We look at all the different parts of the page, and the text, as we try to put what we are learning together in our minds.

Here is a page from ‘Knights in Shining Armor’ by Gail Gibbons

First, we took a quick glance at the diagram. It’s a castle! Does that deepen our knowledge?
Then, we took a closer, deeper look. We paid attention to details and put the parts of the text together in our mind. The water around the castle, the towers.

The big thing we are learning is that castles are built to protect people. Instead of glancing at the diagram we need to look closely at the details. Then, put what we know together to build a deeper understanding about castles.

Here are some ways to talk about our thinking:
Reading Strategy: Ask questions to engage with the text.
We can engage our minds by asking questions as we read.
When reading fiction, we might ask, “What comes next? Why did the character do that?”
When reading nonfiction, we might ask questions about the topic, “How do I know?”

When we ask and answer questions while we read, we know our minds are turned on to a book, this means we are coming to the text with curiosity. It can feel like we are having a conversation with ourselves as we question and inquire, wondering what will come next. We can read on to answer our questions.

The Main Idea and Supporting Details:
After reading a section or whole book, we can start by saying what the whole book is mostly about.
Then, we can ask ourselves, “How do we know?”.
We can go back to the text to find the facts that are most connected to the idea.

Readers pay attention to details and think, “How can I put together what I’m seeing to grow knowledge about this topic?

We read a book about worms to practice these strategies. Then, we decided what the main idea and supporting details were. We looked for key words in the text that provide details about the topic. As we discussed the text, we asked and answered questions that helped us develop a deeper understanding about the topic.

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