Thursday, January 23, 2014

Three Quick Nonfiction Books

 As we dive deep into our nonfiction unit, I wanted to read more of the titles that I have on my classroom shelves. Students read nonfiction at a grade level about two years below their fiction reading levels. For this reason, many of the nonfiction books I have are very simple. Still, my students feel proud when they complete them, and they are practicing skills that transfer to their other classes.

The first one I chose was Natural Born Killers, by Linda Casterline. I definitely picked this one based on the title and cover. Instead of being about deadly snakes, as I suspected, it was about how poisonous animals and plants can be used to create medicine that helps people. A bit misleading, but the photos and facts involved will keep readers engaged.

Up Close, by Louise A. Gikow, is another book in the True Tales series. Similarly, its cover promises a book that it doesn't quite deliver. This book tells the history of microscopes. Still, the close images of items like goldfish skin and mosquito eyes are entertaining. I thought that Natural Born Killers was more reader-friendly, but maybe that's because poison is more interesting than microscopes!

As I read more nonfiction books, I realize how crucial the title and cover are. Burp, by Diane Swanson, is a perfect example. I decided to read this book because of the title, but it actually only features a short paragraph about burping. Instead, the book describes all aspects of digestion and food. The cover drew me in, but the information and layout kept me reading. Burp chunks information into colorful boxes, keeping the reader's attention. Trivia is mixed among substantial paragraphs about how the digestive system works. This is a book I'll be featuring in a book chat.

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