Reading About Real Things: Nonfiction and Informational Books
During preschool years, boys and girls discover that books contain information about the world around them. From baby animals to fire trucks, children can follow any interest through the pages of a text. Nonfiction and informational books are organized differently and those text structures are important teaching points. As you share nonfiction and informational books, ask children to do the following:
- Use pictures and illustrations to aid comprehension and talk about what they see.
- Retell information from the informational text.
- Tell what the book is about after hearing it read aloud.
- Gain information from pictures, photographs, simple charts, and labels.
- Follow simple directions.
Reading about real things is not only appropriate but truly inviting for ever curious young children.
| ||From Egg to Robin |
|by Susan Canizares and Betsey Chessen (Scholastic, 1998, ISBN 0590761625)|
Simple and inviting, this book is the perfect text to introduce little ones to the genre of nonfiction and informational books. Colorful photographs fill each page, accompanied by a short sentence in large font. The message is developmentally appropriate: “This is a robin.” “The robin builds a nest.” Children watch as the blue eggs hatch, the babies peek out, and then grow bigger and bigger. Finally, they are grown-up robins. At the back of the book, the author includes information that will be helpful in engaging the boys and girls in a discussion about the birds they see so often.
| ||Polar Bears|
|by Susan Canizares and Daniel Moreton (Scholastic, 1998, ISBN 0590761536)|
What child doesn’t love polar bears! Cuddly and cute, they engage everyone in their antics and their fun. The white bears in this book are shown napping on the snow, playing with their mom, paddling in the water, and even sleeping in a huddled pile. The text for each photograph is a one or two word label: running, rolling, sleeping walking, polar bears. There is interesting information in the back of the book that provides further details about the habits and activities of polar bears.
| ||Things That Go (Lift-the-Flap Book)|
|by DK Publishers (DK Publishing Inc , 2005, ISBN 0756613795)|
Curious toddlers will enjoy this lift-the-flap book that is filled with photographs of all kinds of things that go. Topics include things that go on the road, things that go to the rescue, things that go up in the air, things that go on the tracks, and things that go on the water. Each topic has two pages filled with photographs with simple labels and a double-page spread that asks a question for the children to think about and answer. This book will keep young boys and girls interested and occupied and will increase their awareness of all types of transportation.
Little ones enjoy listening to nonfiction and informational texts, especially if they have a significant object nearby while you read. It’s reinforcing to hold a stuffed polar bear while learning about polar bears or to have a little wooden car as you learn about things that go. You can create “topic tubs” by filling plastic buckets or tubs with books about a particular topic and then a variety of concrete objects connected to the theme. These tubs can become learning centers as boys and girls are developmentally ready to sort and classify.
Books selected and reviewed by Carol Price
. Carol Price has been a preschool teacher and director, a kindergarten and first grade teacher, an elementary principal, and a K-12 English language arts coordinator. Recently retired after working thirty years for Worthington Schools in Worthington, Ohio, she now spends her time as an educational consultant, workshop presenter, and adjunct professor at a local college. More importantly, she finally has hours and hours available to read newly released children's books and to curl up with a few of her old favorites, too.