Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - 4th grade's favorite nfpb #classroombookaday - 11.08.17

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

I am so fortunate to be doing #classroombookaday (want to know more information about #classroombookaday?  Be sure to check out Jillian Heise's post here) in two amazing classrooms.  These teachers have welcomed me into their rooms, shared their students with me and collaborate with me to make sure what we're reading matches their curriculum.  I certainly see the benefits of this and I think the teachers and their students do, too!

This week I welcome the 4th graders from Ms. Anderson's class to my blog.  They are here to let you know their favorite nonfiction #classroombookaday books... so far!  We've got lots more nonfiction reading to do this year, we're just getting started!  Maybe you'll see a book or two (or more) to add to your classroom TBR list!

This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World
This Is How We Do It
by Matt Lamothe
Oliver enjoyed this one because he "loves geography and things around the world."
Will really liked learning about "the different countries and their routines and cultures."

A Rock Is Lively
A Rock is Lively
by Dianna Hutts Aston
Need more rock facts, Alan says this is the book for you!

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes
Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes
by Nicola Davies
Maya liked the "unique" way it was written.

Glow: Animals with Their Own Night-Lights
Glow: Animals With Their Own Night-Lights
by W.H. Beck
Ethan says this book is "really good because it talked about the uses of their glow."  Several readers mentioned how unique this book is.  Jamie thought this book was great because it showed him "how amazing deep sea creatures can be."

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon 
by Jason Chin
Colby said the "cut-outs are really intricate."

How to Be an Elephant
How to Be an Elephant
by Katherine Roy
Leo thought the "wording and information" read like a fiction book!

by Melissa Stewart
Aadil really liked the experiments that were included in this nonfiction book!

I also asked the 4th graders their opinions about nonfiction reading.  Here are some of their responses:

Xavier said his opinion of nonfiction has always been "yesssss!"  But now that we've been reading it for #classroombookaday, it hasn't changed, he still thinks "it's great!"  Yay for nonfiction!

Reagan said at first she "only knew a little bit about nonfiction but now it's really cool."

Sophia said "when we first started reading nonfiction I already loved it, but now I like it even more."

Ryan said he "used to read nonfiction about animals" but now he's reading "nonfiction about other subjects."  I love to see that he's exploring new topics!

Reese said she's always been "a fiction chapter book reader" but now she "is warming up to nonfiction."

Leo said he's always "preferred fiction because it was like an adventure that kept me excited to read."  But now that we've been doing nonfiction #classroombookaday, "he LOVES nonfiction and he is enjoying it more and more."

After last week's post about the 3rd graders nonfiction reading response, author Melissa Stewart pondered why did so many students have negative opinions of nonfiction at the start of our nonfiction unit?  What did they not like about nonfiction?  I probed the 4th graders just a bit more about this....

Their reasons will probably sound familiar:

  • it's boring
  • it's not exciting
  • it has no action
  • has too many facts

Hailey tells, "they never made it too interesting."  She wanted more juicy words and a better explanation.  Luckily every nonfiction #classroombookaday is one she has loved!

 Thank you to Kallie, Ethan, Colby, and Brayan  for answering so honestly!

I think there are a few reasons for these responses.

  • I don't think we expose readers to enough nonfiction, especially in read alouds.  Most of us prefer to read fiction and our preferences carry over in what we choose to share.
  • Along with that, I'm not sure how many teachers choose to find nonfiction.  I actively search for engaging nonfiction.  I read blogs that give me ideas, I follow people on Twitter who suggest engaging texts, I have my go-to authors that consistently publish amazing nonfiction.  But I have to be proactive in order to find these texts.
  • If I go through the stacks and stacks of nonfiction at a library, many of the books that I could randomly pick out are probably pretty dry, factual nonfiction.  However, if I go to the new section of nonfiction, that is generally not the case.  Books written in the past decade have gotten really good.  Read these books.  Find these books.  You will change readers' minds.

So, did you find any new nonfiction to use in your #classroombookaday?  Have you ever asked your students their opinions on nonfiction?  You might be surprised at what you find.

As always, happy, happy nonfiction reading!


  1. This is fascinating, Michele. Thanks for probing deeper. It's clear that you work hard to find truly engaging nonfiction to share with your students. How can we make that process easier for all educators?

  2. I also like the 'unique' way that Tiny Microbes was written. When I was working as a lit coach, one of the younger students was studying microbes, and this book was wonderful to use for her study. I still need to read "This Is How We Do It" and enjoyed reading all the comments from students, Michele. Thanks!

  3. How to Be an Elephant is such an awesome book, and I'm not just saying that because I seriously <3 elephants. :)

  4. Thanks for posting this, Michele! It's wonderful to see the kids enjoying great nonfiction (and you picked some fabulous titles for them!). I would echo Melissa's question: What can be done to help educator's find and highlight these great books?

  5. I would love to know the answer to that question too, Michele!!

    LOVED How to Be An Elephant sooo much! Such a fantastic book. And Glow has such cool factor--love the way it was designed to enhance the glowing creatures.

    And I must read This Is How We Do It. I keep hearing of it, but haven't yet read it--must get on that!