Monday, March 26, 2018

5 Faves: Expository Nonfiction Recommended by Donna Miller

These five books are often used as whole class read alouds prior to the students starting a unit of study or a research project. I often do animal research in the younger grades and a variety of projects with the older grades. The topics vary depending on the timing of the projects and what the output is going to be.

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016)
This is a great book that I have in digital and print form. I project it and read parts of it aloud to my second grade prior to them choosing an animal book for their research project. It is a great way to introduce diverse animals and diverse ways of looking at and comparing animals. I try to get the students to look at details other than physical characteristics and habitat when they are writing their reports. The final project is a newsletter introducing the animal, and this book helps them think of “headlines” to use for their paper.
No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Nicole Wong (Charlesbridge, 2013)
This book is great for introducing cause and effect as well as introducing the rain forest. I use it with second graders before they start a unit on rain forest animals, and I also use it with older students before we do a project for Earth Day.
Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta (Holt, 2013)
This text is great for making comparisons and having students think about what we use every day and how life would be without it. I do a short project with fifth graders involving inventions, and this text makes a good starting point. I also read this to third grade before they do their biography reports. It opens their eyes to ways of talking about a person without just the usual “when they were born, where they lived, what they died” format. I also pair this text with
I is for Idea: An Inventions Alphabet by Marcia Schonberg (Sleeping Bear, 2006). Although I don’t read it aloud, it is there for students to use as a resource.
We’ve Got Your Number by Mukul Patel (Kingfisher, 2013)
This text is not used as a read aloud per say, instead I use it for introducing a variety of topics throughout the year. Patel has included two-page spreads on a wide variety of topics that all have something to do with numbers. It is also available for staff who are looking for a good STEM or makerspace introduction. The section on “keeping secrets” is a great introduction to creating your own code.

Night Light: A Book about the Moon by Dana Meachen Rau (Picture Window Books, 2006)
This is a great book to introduce the moon to younger students. It is short and to the point. There are large illustrations and a “Fun Fact” on each topic. It can also be used to reinforce or introduce vocabulary before starting a moon unit.
Donna Miller is a K-5 library teacher in Norwood, MA. She shares her love of books with students and staff in three buildings. When Donna isn’t teaching, she can be found tweeting @DonnaMiller44 and at various EdCamps and NerdCamps in the area.

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