Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - end of the year nonfiction studies - 3rd grade 5.02.18

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017
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 excited because we're moving into a nonfiction cycle at school.  At this point in the year, our students are starting to do some big thinking.  Our 3rd graders are starting to talk about noticing author's opinions in a book and compare it to their own.  4th grade students are integrating information from multiple sources but they are doing it with the lens of looking at the danger of a single story.  This work is so important but thankfully I have the help of extremely smart and talented educators and teachers to help guide me through.  I've been leaning heavily on Melissa Stewart - looking through her blog, asking her questions, tweeting her about books.  Jess Lifshitz's brilliance has been making me think and wonder and I'm so grateful that she's allowing me to piggyback on the work she shares.  If you haven't already, be sure you visit/subscribe to their sites:
Melissa Stewart's blog
Jess' blog - Crawling Out of the Classroom

This week I want to share what we're doing in 3rd grade to end the school year.  

The standard they are concentrating on is:
RI.3.6 Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.

Along with that they are revisiting 
RI.3.2  Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.

We're really looking at how the author wants the reader to view the topic.  Thanks to Twitter friends (Melissa, Jess, Sarah Albee, Aly Beecher, Aliza Werner, Scott Fillner, Donna Janell Bowman and Nancy Castaldo) I was able to gather these books for us to look at:

Shark Lady by Jess Keating
Fireboat by Maira Kalman
Pink is for Blobfish by Jess Keating
What Makes a Monster? by Jess Keating
If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams
I'm Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton
Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton
The Secret Subway by Shana Corey
Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programers? by Tanya Lee Stone
She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton
She Persisted Around the World by Chelsea Clinton
Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh
Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness by Donna Janell Bowman
Sniffer Dogs by Nancy Castaldo

Over time, we'll be sharing these books and looking at what the author wanted us to think about, to know about the subject.  What side of the story does the author want us to believe?  Then we'll ask questions - what do we believe?  what information do we need to make an opinion?  We're also going to look at why the information is important.  Our teachers have identified a need to practice how details back up the main idea. By talking about why the information is important will help readers think critically about those details.  After doing this for a week, students will move into comparing their opinion vs that of the author.  We want students to not just take facts at their word but to question them, wonder about truth/bias/validity.  This is the first step in that direction.  What great work the third graders will be doing before the end of the year!

Have you been doing work in this area?  I would love to hear other great ideas or books you've used.  Share in the comments!


  1. This sounds like a wonderful exercise, and many of my favorite nonfiction titles are here--enjoy!!

  2. Wow, this sounds so great! I wish we'd had engaging nonfiction like this available when I was a kid.