Unit Three: Nonfiction
(Reading to Learn)

During this unit, the readers of A105 switch from reading stories and solving mysteries to reading to learn. This unit spotlights the skills and habits of a reader of nonfiction text.

Readers will learn how to determine importance by finding the main idea and supporting details . They will 
question/wonder and talk back to the text. In addition, the students will figure out and use new content-specific vocabulary. Lastly they will continue to apply inferential thinking skills.

Students will become familiar with different nonfiction text structures such as : description, sequence, compare/contrast, question/answer, problem/solution, how-to and cause/effect. Students will learn that nonfiction authors purposely decide on a text structure ( the way a text is organized) in order to present their ideas in a way that is understandable to their readers. 


The readers will explore three types of nonfiction text: 
Expository Nonfiction:
These texts are written to inform, explain, describe or define the author's subject to the reader. The readers will learn how to set their minds up for this type of text by reading the title, headings and subheadings and looking over chunks of the text to find out what it is really about. These texts also follow a 'boxes and bullets' structure. The 'box' is the main idea and the 'bullets' are the details. Readers of this text need to expect this structure and learn how to use the text features, transitional phrases and paragraphs (or chunks of text) to help them get what matters most from the text. 


Narrative Nonfiction: These texts read like a story with a beginning, middle and end. The elements of fiction are present such as: a setting, characters who have traits and who want something, problems that get in their way and solutions. The readers will read this type of nonfiction just like when they read fiction. They need to identify characters, traits and motivations. While reading, they will be able to identify the factual information the author is intending to teach the reader. 


Hybrid Nonfiction: These texts contain chunks of text that are expository with chunks that are narrative. The Magic School Bus series is a great example of hybrid nonfiction. Each book has the story of Miss Frizzle and her class, and on the sides of each page are "all about" tidbits of information to explain what the class is learning. 


Some of the focus lessons throughout this unit include:

*Noticing and naming text features and structures

*Selecting 'just right' nonfiction and reading with stamina

*Reading to learn

*Chunking information and determining main idea and supporting details

*Questioning the text

*Determining author's intent (Why did they write this book? What is their opinion on the topic?)

*Determining the meaning of new vocabulary using nonfiction text features like a glossary or word box, as well as searching for meaning within the text itself.