Thursday, September 19, 2013

Information Options: Presenting Nonfiction Topics in Picture Books

Today I'm delighted to be presenting a keynote address for the Utah Valley University Forum on Engaged Reading. This post has my notes as well as links referenced in Information Options: A variety of ways to present nonfiction topics in picture books. The links for my breakout sessions are included also.

How do people get information? How do children get information?

From prehistoric times, humans have observed the world around them, and wanted to tell somebody about it.

Kids are told many things by adults including parents, relatives, neighbors, and teachers. Children also find things out by first-hand experience, by doing things.

Long distance and mass communication: Town crier, carrier pigeon, letters, (now emails or texts,) newspapers, magazines, radio, telephones, TV, movies. Then computers, Internet, smart phones, search engines

Today's focus: The kind of information children can find in picture books and the multiple ways it can be presented.

What can nonfiction books look like? The bad old days of long paragraphs of text with a few rectangular photos...are they really gone?

Some general categories of nonfiction books:
Just facts
Information + Context to make it more meaningful
Information + Process: how X is built
Information + Activity: make a craft, do a science experiment
Information + Argument: why X is good or bad

Solving for X: key elements to consider when creating an informational picture book
Main Idea; Facts; Age level; Title; Setting; Characters; Plot or Sequence; Writing options; Image options

Some of the combinations found in my books (links go to the book's page on my web site):
Symmetry + Many Examples + Line & Rotational symmetry + realistic images = Seeing Symmetry
Sequence: “What is symmetry?”...starts with Line then Rotational

Mars + Photographs + Kids + Writing = Messages From Mars
Plot: group of kids that win a trip to Mars, write home about what they learn

Animal sayings + Meanings + Comical animals + Antique art = There’s a Frog in My Throat
The groupings are based on where animals live, e.g. On the Farm; In the Wild

Similes + Story + Comical Animals + Transformations = Crazy Like a Fox: A Simile Story
Plot: Fox acts “crazy,” provokes sheep to follow him, leads her to surprise party

Prehistoric + Chronological + Realistic art + Playful = My Teacher Is a Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Poems, Jokes, Riddles, & Amazing Facts
Chronological overview, realistic artwork, playful presentation

Math + Delete Numbers + Problems + Fantasy = Missing Math: A Number Mystery
A way to show the value of math by removing it, detective story

Energy + Types + Step-by-step + Characters = The Shocking Truth about Energy
Major types, Steps of energy production, characters come to life with energy

MyPlate + Big food images + Read aloud + Fairy tale = Jack & the Hungry Giant
Large images of food, story for context, Jack & the Beanstalk

Diverse ways of presenting information in books is important, because READERS are diverse.


All Loreen Leedy picture books are on this page of my website. There are links to individual book pages that have a summary, the ISBN numbers, activity ideas, trailers, and more.

This is a blog post with ideas for introducing Seeing Symmetry including using hands-on foldables and the words to a symmetry chant.

I've made several free activities for my books including the ones shown below:
Click image to go to activities download page on TpT
Click image to download
Download my free book activities in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop. More are under construction and will be in my shop as they are created. Be sure to "follow me" to be notified.

Other activities are downloadable from this page of my web site.

The Nonfiction Reading Response Cards shown on the left will be free during the conference.

My Pinterest boards are mostly full of teaching ideas on various topics such as Making Math Fun, Kids + Nonfiction, and Eating My Plate. Click to view them all and follow the ones that interest you. A collaborative board I contribute to called Learn to Read has over half a million followers!

ClipArt Etc. has thousands of antique images that are free for educators to use in the classroom. Additional images can be found on a sister site, Presentations Etc.

Holiday House Books for Young People has a page of books categorized by themes such as character education, cultural diversity, math, science and nature, and many more. They also have Teachers guides, Activity pages, and other freebies on this page. Here are all my Holiday House books that are in print.

Life Changing Nonfiction Series: during the month of September, I.N.K. bloggers are writing about nonfiction books that inspired them as children and comparable books that are available today: I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids)

Nonfiction Monday is a weekly roundup of blog posts about nonfiction books. It's hosted on a different blog every week, so check the schedule here.

Here is a free template for kids to make a map of their bedrooms using Mapping Penny's World as a mentor text on the School is a Happy Place blog.

See a class writing their own simile story using Crazy Like a Fox as a mentor text on the 4th Grade Frolics blog.

Why should kids read nonfiction?
Beyond Once Upon a Time by Nell K Duke.

Whew...hope this post is useful...if so, please leave a comment!

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