Why Read Nonfiction?
In planning “Lawrence Reads,” our Literacy Team is pleased and excited about this year’s focus on nonfiction.
Why nonfiction? Nonfiction reading provides students in all grades with opportunities to build their content knowledge, vocabulary, and expand their view of the world. Since children have a natural curiosity about the world around them, reading nonfiction text is a great way to extend their curiosity and grow stronger as readers. The Common Core State Standards (adopted by 45 states, including Massachusetts) suggest that fourth grade reading be divided evenly between fiction and nonfiction. In eighth grade, the recommended split is 45% fiction-55% nonfiction. In high school, it’s 30% fiction-70% nonfiction.
I recently read a report published by Renaissance Learning called “What Kids Are Reading…And Why It Matters.” The report points out that the majority of students’ top book choices are still fiction titles. However, the report suggests, “In order to be successful in their lives in and outside of school, it is imperative that students read a broad array of literature, especially nonfiction…” The new college and career-ready standards suggest: “through wide and deep reading of literature and literary nonfiction of steadily increasing sophistication, students gain a reservoir of literary and cultural knowledge, references, and images; the ability to evaluate intricate arguments, and the capacity to surmount challenges posed by complex texts.”
Lofty reasons and new standards aside, however, we chose these books for one simple reason. Because we thought students (and you) would enjoy reading and discussing them together. So, please join us for Lawrence Reads!