One of the bloggers that I keep up with is Angela Maiers. Angela is a literacy consultant and she has great ideas for working with kids on reading and writing. Her latest series is called Celebrating Nonfiction and there is one post in particular that I thought would be useful to librarians.
Angela describes conversations that she had with students as they selected nonfiction books in the library and what she felt like was missing in their selection process:
Over and over, I would hear comments like:
- “I need a book on snakes.”
- “I want to know more about trucks, so I am looking for truck books.”
- “I have to research the constitution, do you have a book on that?”
So what’s missing? Not one reader mentioned their purpose for reading. Even when I asked: What is your reason for wanting more information about snakes? What about trucks is most important for you to discover? What aspect of the constitution is the subject of your research?
Readers can only be assured that they have selected the “just- right” text when their purpose aligns with the content.
I know that many of our elementary librarians teach lessons on “author’s purpose” to our students. What a great way of making a connection from lesson to life than to help students relate the author’s purpose to their own purpose for reading a book.
The next time you have kids in the library looking for something to read, don’t just ask them what their interests are or what kinds of TV shows or movies they enjoy. Also talk to them about their purpose for reading. It’s one more piece of information that you can use to help you connect your students to the right books for them!
And if you’re interested in some great ideas for ways to teach your students about nonfiction books, check out Angela’s other posts, starting with this one: