My English teachers weren't originally feeling the romance, but now some of them are ready to flirt with the idea that nonfiction can be fantastic and engaging.
|A nonfiction display for the unit|
Today, for the first time, we had classes in the library for a nonfiction book selection. Because these kids have never picked a nonfiction book "for fun," they needed a little instruction in what to look for. I invented arbitrary nonfiction categories for my collection: reference books, research books, coffee table books, biographies, and literary/narrative nonfiction, and provided examples from each category.
The kids were asked to choose books that were either biographies or literary/narrative nonfiction.
What nonfiction topics do 14-year-olds gravitate towards?
- Sports stories (think the Blind Side)
- Memoirs (esp. drug addiction stories)
- The Big Necessity (about toilets all over the world) - one of my personal favorites
- What the World Eats (great images and info about a grocery shopping and food choices all over the world)
- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier (about a boy solider in Sierra Leone)
- There's a lot more conversation about the books. Kids are reading portions of the book aloud to each other, sharing random facts, showing off cool pictures, etc.
- There's more interaction between the page and the reader. For example, I had one student whip out his calculator so he could add up a family's grocery bill in What the World Eats.
- For a few (though less than I expected), there was some serious disappointment when they realized the book they WANTED to read was fiction, and therefore off the table.
- Although I love nonfiction, I've read significantly more of my fiction collection. I'm not as comfortable coming up with on the spot recommendations - more of a mental stretch on my part.
Have you had any experience book taking nonfiction?