New Words, New Ideas: Reading Nonfiction
Students will be able to identify and define unknown words in a nonfiction text.
Introduction (10 minutes)
- Gather students on the rug for the start of the lesson.
- Read students a few pages from National Geographic Kids: Dolphins by Melissa Stewart or a similar nonfiction text.
- As you read, pause to think aloud. You can say something like, “It seems like this book is about dolphins. This sounds like it might be the main idea, or what the book is about. I wonder what I’ll learn about them. Hmm.”
- Continue to read, pausing to notice important words, facts, and text features. Pause to write any potentially unknown words on the whiteboard or chart paper.
- Read the list of new (potentially unknown words) aloud. Ask your students to think about these words and how they might help us learn what the book was about.
- Have students share out with the class.
- Explain that one way that nonfiction authors teach us about their topic is by including special words called vocabulary words. These words are often highlighted, bolded, and include pictures next to them.
- Say, “Today we will practice finding vocabulary words in our books to help us learn more about the topic.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (5 minutes)
- Show your students a page from the book you were just reading that includes a bolded word or text box and explain that even when we come across a new word, there are many clues in a nonfiction book that can help us discover what the new word might mean.
- Remind your students to think about the text features in a nonfiction text. Show examples of text features such as labels, diagrams, glossary, pictures, etc.
- Ask students how they might use text features to learn about a mystery word. Answers might include: Looking at the illustrations or photographs near the word, reading the words around the mystery word, reading the headings on the page.
- Tell students that they have just identified some great strategies for learning about a mystery word's meaning. Explain that they can also ask a friend, teacher, and look in the dictionary.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)
- Finish reading National Geographic Kids: Dolphins by Melissa Stewart. As you begin to read, tell the students to raise their hands when they hear a mystery word.
- Write down each mystery word on the board. Pause after writing and ask the class to think about the word and what it might mean. Record their thinking.
- Demonstrate how you would use the glossary in the book to check the meaning of the word. Also demonstrate how you would use a dictionary (if there wasn’t a glossary).
- Write down the correct meaning of each word and/or circle it if it is already written on the board.
Independent Working Time (20 minutes)
- Show the New Nonfiction Words Organizer to the class and go over the instructions.
- Explain that you will pass out a nonfiction book and an organizer for students to use. Students will work in pairs using the same book, and will each complete an organizer.
- Circulate around the room and support students as needed.
- Gather a small group of students to work with the teacher or teacher's aide to read a nonfiction text together and identify and define unknown words as a group.
- For students who need writing and/or reading help, provide them with sticky notes with key words written on them. You may also choose to write down student thoughts as they dictate them to you.
- Provide advanced students with a nonfiction text and worksheet to read and complete independently.
Assessment (5 minutes)
Collect the worksheets and assess whether students were able to identify and define unknown words using details and clues from the text.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
After the independent work time has concluded, ask students to return to the rug and place their finished worksheets in front of them. Ask for a few volunteers to share out a new word they encountered and what they think it means and why. Encourage students to offer ideas to one another about the words they wrote down. Explain that even grown-ups come across unknown words and that learning how to figure out what they mean helps you to better understand the book or topic.