Nonfiction Text Features in Reading & Writing Workshop- Must-Read Mentor Text!

Happy December, everyone! I'm excited to link up with Collaboration Cuties today to share the fabulous nonfiction mentor text I'm using for BOTH reading and writing workshop! We've been learning about how to read and write nonfiction and this book "covers-all-the-bases"! Let me explain...

In order to support students writing nonfiction, we started examining text features during reading workshop before beginning our nonfiction writing unit. I like to refer to Stephanie Harvey's lessons from The Primary Comprehension Toolkit. It is an excellent resource!! Among the various metacognitive strategies that are introduced through the kit, we've discussed activating schema and questioning so far.

If you are a follower, you know that Lucy Calkins' Units of Study are my primary resources for teaching writing workshop, and I really LOVE the new updated edition. For the unit about information writing, Lucy recommends Sharks! by Anne Schreiber.

To make the shared reading experience better and allow everyone to really see this awesome text, I decided to purchase my own Kindle copy of Sharks! and download it to my ipad. It cost 3 dollars and change on Amazon and I had it downloaded in minutes! How great is that?? I especially love getting e-books off Amazon because I'm in Bangladesh; I can't just run out to Barnes & Noble! :) In the past, I've read ebooks with my students on my ipad and it works wonderfully- everyone can see it when it projects on the screen. Talk about a big book!

When you double-tap on the ipad, it enlarges the text for easier readability, and this certainly transfers to the screen. Check out the Table of Contents.

Ok, more about teaching with this great text! Before we started reading it, I asked students to share their schema for sharks. We agreed that most of them had basic knowledge about sharks, however, there were a couple of "experts" in the class- my nonfiction junkies, you know, the kids who just devour any nonfiction book they can get their hands on! I also asked my students if they had any questions about sharks. (They didn't have too many, but once we started reading, they certainly did!) All of this was just discussion- no notes at this time; this was a mini-lesson as part of reading workshop, so I wanted to keep it brief. I even set the timer for 15 minutes so I wouldn't keep students for too long!

Sharks! has a great beginning with lots of voice--

All of the photograph spreads are equipped with labels and captions. Lucy recommends teaching students how to write "twin sentences" as a way to add detail and depth to information writing, and this book provides lots of great examples:  "Sharks do not have bones. They have soft cartilage instead..."

We will continue to study this text during reading workshop, as well as in writing workshop to examine which features Anne Schreiber chose to use AND why she used them. I love that this book allows me to teach both reading and writing strategies! I will also check out the other titles from the National Geographic Kids Series on Amazon- I'm sure I'll find other awesome nonfiction books on other topics!

If you are looking for other mentor texts for language arts, be sure to visit Collaboration Cuties!
Thanks for stopping  by!

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  1. I love Lucy (ha!) and S. Harvey! This is an awesome lesson for students of any age. Thank you for sharing!

  2. This looks great!! I love those NG Kids books for nonfiction! They are very eye-catching! Seymour Simon has a book about sharks that will tell you more than you'll ever want to know!! ;0)

    How do you project from your iPad to your screen?

    Thanks for linking up!
    Collaboration Cuties

    1. I use an adaptor like the one for my laptop, except it's fitted for an ipad (one end looks like the charging cord)- I put it in the picture next to my ipad :)


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