Textbooks are essential tools of education, which is why it is critical for students to understand how to utilize them. The non-fiction text resources teach kids how to identify important components within a written text such as diagrams, maps infographics and vocabulary words. Other non-fiction text resources offer insight on specific topics such as extreme weather science and history lessons on Paul Revere’s Ride and the History of Television.
One of the most important skills to teach students is how to do research. While the student may look at this as simply a means to an end, that end being writing a research paper, this is actually teaching them to think critically and analytically. The ability to read and understand nonfiction will allow them to begin to form their own thoughts based on a myriad of sources.
Being able to understand nonfiction texts can be difficult. Much like fiction writing has different story elements, nonfiction writings have text features. Text features are strategies that writers make use of to enhance reader comprehension. Some examples are:
Photos or Illustrations - images can help readers visualize and understand more difficult concepts
Captions - text descriptions of photos or images
Graphics - visual representations of data sets
Special Print - using italicized or bold font can bring attention to and emphasize certain passages and keywords.
Nonfiction texts also typically follow one of several text structures. Some of the more common structures include:
Compare and Contrast - shows how two things are alike and different
Descriptive - provides information about a particular concept, item, or person
Problem and Solution - presents a problem and describes a solution to the problem
For early students, nonfiction also presents an opportunity to teach the difference between fact and opinion. Reviewing some of the nonfiction texts provided above by Education.com can offer opportunities for students to practice this skill. Learning to read nonfiction text critically will enable our students to formulate their own educated opinions later in life.