Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about reading nonfiction. It is designed to complement the Reading Nonfiction topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Nonfiction books present facts about subjects, like real people, places, and events. Biographies, autobiographies, newspaper and magazine articles, personal and persuasive essays, histories, and textbooks are just a few examples of nonfiction writing. Many of the books your children will encounter during his or her education will be nonfiction. Thus, it is important for your children to learn how to read nonfiction in a constructive manner.

Though there are many kinds of nonfiction books, many have similar parts. A table of contents is in the front of the book and lists chapter titles or section headings and their page numbers. Some books have a glossary at the back of the book; a glossary contains key words that are related to the topic and their definitions. After the glossary, there is usually an index. This lists all the big ideas and key words in the book and the page numbers where they are explored. An index can contain multiple entries for the same concept so the user can search for the concept in several different ways. Many nonfiction books have pictures, photographs, charts, or graphs. Remind your children that reading the captions underneath them are an important. Some images or diagrams also have labels, which call attention to a specific part.

It is important for your children to understand that they cannot remember everything they read. Taking notes as they read is an excellent way to keep track of important information. Graphic organizers such as word webs, T-charts, lists, outlines, and timelines can help comprehension and can be used as study aids later. When children encounter a difficult word, they can write it down in their notebooks and look it up in the glossary or in a dictionary.

Not all books are appropriate for everyone. Some will be above the level of a child’s reading abilities. Others will be below level. We recommend watching the Choosing a Book movie together as a review. Encourage your children to choose books that are just right. You can watch the “Choosing a Book” movie to review how to choose the right book. Explain that if a book is too hard, they shouldn’t get discouraged. There are plenty of books that are appropriate and as a result, more fun to read.