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Most students enjoy reading Nonfiction. There is always something to connect with, in these texts.
Getting them to understand the structure and REALLY comprehend the purpose, is another thing.
An exciting hook, or topic is the first step. Next, is getting students to dig deep, then resond to the reading.
Having students respond to text can be difficult to teach.
I have found that most of the students want to make comments like "I like the book because it shows me about planets"...or " The book was great"...etc..
We have to teach students to try on opinions about the topic. Many times, students do not even know they HAVE an opinion about the subject they are reading.
Again, it is our job to continuously probe "what do you think about that?".
When you get the blank stare back...you do NOT let them off the hook. You ask the same question many ways, until they finally give you something...anything...on their own mind.
The final step is to make sure the reader gives reasons and hopefully evidence to support their response.
I enjoy hearing what my students think about real happenings.
My favorite website right now is called Tweentribune.com
There are nonfiction articles, by grade-level, and a place to comment!!
Also, the reader can take a quiz...and the results go to the site. It is the best!!
It takes some time to teach the children how to respond appropriately. It is worth it though.
I use the following form to get the kids used to finding the main idea and write their opinions.
I make a copies and staple together as a packet to continue to work on.
Teacher (Manuela) Ippolito