Tips for reading nonfiction books with your child

Reading Nonfiction with your child

It is very important for children to read nonfiction. If you review the books you read with your child, you may find that fiction dominates your young reader’s library. If that’s true, then it’s time to introduce some nonfiction to your reading list!

Nonfiction presents different challenges to beginning readers. Either the topic is so well-known that there are no new concepts, or you are faced with having to help your child learn and understand complex new vocabulary. Children need to learn how to read and understand these new concepts. They will be tested on them as they get to school and move up the grades, so it’s best to have them start early reading nonfiction with your help now.

Here are a few tips for reading nonfiction books with your child:

  1. After reading a nonfiction book, select new and important words in the text and write them on index cards or sticky notes. Have your child use the table of contents and organize the words by chapter. Discuss what your child learned about each word and how it relates to the topic.
  2. Before your child reads, ask him or her to tell you what he or she knows about the topic. Record his or her thoughts on a piece of paper. After reading the book, review the notes. Were they correct?  Did your child learn anything new?
  3. Ask your child as he or she reads to place a sticky note on a page in the book where he or she learned something new or found something he or she would like to know more about. After the reading, talk about where your child put the sticky notes.
  4. Have your child select several words from the glossary. Now ask him or her to use those words and write several sentences about the topic of the book.
  5. Make sure that you have at least one nonfiction book in your stack when you read with your child. Getting him or her in the habit of using nonfiction books, and understanding how they are organized (many have glossaries and indexes, for instance) will prepare him or her for prime-time school reading.

If you use these tips together with your child, he or she will be better equipped to problem-solve nonfiction books on his or her own.

If you’re interested in trying out nonfiction books available on our ipad app, here’s a quick list of what we offer.

Insects A
Baby Animals of the Rain Forest B
Vehicles B
Making Pizza C
Kittens D
Porcupines D
Our Senses E
Making Maple Syrup F
Snakes F
Baby Animals of the Forest G
Riding Bicycles H

book reader

This post was adapted from literacy expert Michele Dufresne. For more of her teaching tips, go here.
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