Why is reading nonfiction so important?
Reading informational texts is a large part of learning and a students’ school career is full of it. This is one of the switches with the Common Core standards that I know so many parents are trying to get used to. There is a greater focus on more complex nonfiction reading. This is a good thing because nonfiction reading is linked to student success. It helps tap into student interests and build background knowledge, which background knowledge itself accounts for as much as 33 percent of the variance in student achievement (Marzano, 2000). If you would like to read more, there is a great article that Educational Leadership put out in 2012 that goes more in depth into the importance of nonfiction reading. Read it here!
Nonfiction Reading At Home
Reading nonfiction texts at home can be extremely rewarding. Your child will be motivated because they get to pick the subject based on their own interests and they get to learn and read about what they are passionate about. The public library is a great place to bring children to look for nonfiction books. Also, used bookstores are an affordable option. You and your children will be surprised at the wealth of knowledge that is out there.
KWL chart (Know, Want to know, Learned
I want to share this strategy with you for reading nonfiction texts. This is a reading strategy that was created by Donna Ogle back in 1986. It is still used in classrooms today as it is proven to be effective. Ogle was actually inducted into the reading hall of fame in 2007 for her work. (click on her picture to learn more)
Why does it work?
It causes children to think about what they already know about something. This accesses their background knowledge on the subject, which is critical for learning. Then they think about what they want to know. This gives purpose to what students are about to read or learn. The children then reflect on what they have learned, adding to their knowledge.
How to use it:
Have your children fill out the first portion before beginning. See what they already know; access background knowledge and get them thinking. Then fill out the second part listing what your child wants to know about the subject. This will give your child some direction when looking for books.
Find some nonfiction books at the library on your child’s chosen subject. After reading, fill out the last portion to reflect on what they have learned.
Look back to the want to know section and see if there are any unanswered questions. Think about how you can find the answers to these questions (Google is amazing). Hop on the internet or head back to the library to try to find answers to any unanswered questions and add them to the chart.
About the Author
My name is Deann Jensen, MS in Educational Psychology. I am the sole owner, tutor, and blog writer for Tutoring with Intent. I have been teaching in Phoenix and surrounding areas for six years. I am a licensed Arizona Teacher for grades K-8 and special education grades K-12.