Celebrate this week: Nonfiction (with help from Ralph Fletcher)!


Celebrate with Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes  …. because, we need to celebrate moments in our lives every chance we get!

This week I celebrate launching our nonfiction unit, with all kinds of great inspiration and practical ideas from Ralph Fletcher’s new book, Making Nonfiction From Scratch:

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For last Sunday’s DigiLit round up, I shared some of my takeaways from this wonderful resource:


and this week was all about putting some of those ideas into practice, and we began with nonfiction readalouds, an idea inspired by a chapter entitled: Where Have All The Nonfiction Read=Alouds Gone?  Where indeed?  In room 2o2, read aloud all kinds of fiction and poetry…but non-fiction? Not so much.  Fletcher says: “We need to marinate our students in the best nonfiction we can find”, so that’s what I set out to do this week.  

First, we spent some time charting our initial thoughts about fiction vs. nonficton, and I think my kids were really surprised at how compartmentalized their thinking was: fiction and nonfiction, it seems, have NOTHING in common:


We’ve been reading through a stack of great nonfiction all week,

and revising our thinking.  Bit by bit, we are assembling (as Fletcher suggests) a “Criteria List” of craft moves the authors use to bring these stories alive (even at 7:50 in the morning!).  And, bit by bit, my kids are beginning to see that fiction and nonfiction have much in common – beginning with strong storytelling.  Best of all, nobody is bored, as they had imagined they would have been, reading this sort of powerful nonfiction.

That is a very good thing, and we celebrate this!






11 thoughts on “Celebrate this week: Nonfiction (with help from Ralph Fletcher)!

  1. I always enjoy learning along with you. I agree my students see fiction and NF compartmentalized. We read Energy Island this week and started to show how the two can merge. I’m interested in literary non-fiction too.

  2. Strong story-telling! It’s great to hear that you’re teaching them how it works through mentor texts & discussion of craft moves. We learn so much when we look at others’ work. I’ll look for more about this, Tara! Happy Weekend!

  3. Love the chart! I’ve been thinking about adding a focus for nonfiction to our book club. Fletcher’s book sounds good (trying not to buy new professional bks, but I’m tempted)! Two of the titles are new for me, but I have read Galapagos George. Requesting the other two. Have a relaxing weekend! As always, I love what you share and I’m sending it on to my former 6th grade team.

  4. I don’t read aloud enough nonfiction in my class and I want to change that. At Thanksgiving, I did read aloud a book about pilgrims and my students loved it. So many interesting facts that led to some great discussions.

  5. This is such great inspiration — I need to try to get my hands on that book. 🙂 I love the idea of explicitly talking about the differences and finding the similarities between fiction and non fiction… I feel like I have only done small parts of that with my students – — but the way you brought it all together with this unit is just great!

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