Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Treasure Chest of Nonfiction Resources

Nonfiction writing for children represents a pool of unique tools for educators teaching knowledge learning areas. Certainly nonfiction gives educators ways to build content knowledge. Don't forget that it also serves as a window of opportunity to motivate all students, to turn them on to reading. I've always said, "there's a book for every child" and, when you open the selection to include nonfiction texts, you raise the likelihood that each student finds that book.

I know educators and librarians don't have a lot of time to find these gems on their own so here are a few great new resources that will help you in your search:

My friend, and author, Vicki Cobb, and many of her fellow non-fiction authors just this week introduced a brand new database, website and blog, dedicated to helping busy educators and librarians tap into this world. To quote their introduction on their INK THINK TANK website "The real world has never been so interesting!"

Search this resource by subject area, national standard, grade level and much more on the database included here. There are more than 20 different contributing authors on almost any subject matter you can think of. They also have a corresponding blog where the authors of these great tools visit, share ideas and thoughts, and help us all maximize resources.

Ever feel as though your students have no hook, no foundation of knowledge, on which to build new content area knowledge? Need a quick tool to find picture books to use when introducing that content area subject matter? Powerful Picture Books: 180 Ideas for Promoting Content Learning is an environmentally-friendly, easy-to-use resource you can reference all year long. An annotated list of over 180 quality picture books, suggests one title to read for every day of the typical school year. Most of the entries represent picture books readily available in your local public or school libraries. Read aloud book 1 to book 180 in your classroom or use the interactive index to help you select the content area you need.

Each annotation includes the title, author, and publication details plus ideas (and some hyperlinks) for extending the learning. These recommended reads cover such content areas as history, writing, the arts, geography, science and more. You can find picture books applicable for use with elementary, middle and high school students.

Get your media specialist involved! Sharron McElmeel, from in Cedar Rapids Iowa Community School District, shares some great ideas for promoting nonfiction with the youngest readers in her article entitled A New Section for Young Readers: J is for Junior Nonfiction.

Maximize the use of nonfiction with your students and turn more of them on to reading as a tool for life, a way to feed their interests and explore new worlds.

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