A New Bedtime Routine: Reading Aloud Nonfiction

How often does your bedtime routine involve reading aloud nonfiction?  I know what you are thinking.  Nonfiction can be so boring! But, not so fast.  There are wonderful examples of nonfiction texts out there now that are engaging to read.  Not only that, but nonfiction read alouds are a perfect opportunity to share with children the differencesbetween fiction and nonfiction.

A few ways to use a read aloud to discuss differences between nonfiction and fiction:

  • Talk about the table of contents.  How does a table of contents help a reader locate information?

Often times, my son will pick a nonfiction book for me to read aloud.  Instead of reading the whole book, because let’s face it who has time for that, I will read him the title of each section of the table of contents.  He will pick a few topics that he would like to hear about and that is what we read that night.

  • Discuss the index.  How can using the index make your nonfiction reading experience easier?  Do you have to read the book from cover to cover if you are looking for specific information?
  • How do photographs enhance the reading experience?

So when should you start to read aloud nonfiction to your child?  I started reading aloud nonfiction to my son when he was 2 or 3, but he made it easy for me.  He would choose nonfiction books to read aloud.  Boys tend to lean toward nonfiction more readily than girls do.  That is not to say that I haven’t read nonfiction to my daughter (who is now 3) because I have, though not as much as I have read to my son.  Typically, I let my children lead me to the nonfiction.  I tend to find books on whatever topic they are interested in at the time.

A few months back, I wrote a guest post at No Time for Flashcards about incorporating nonfiction into the lives of preschoolers.  Check it out for additional ideas on how to incorporate nonfiction into your family reading.

If you are interested in ways to bring nonfiction into the fabric of your family, check back soon!  For the remainder of the month, I plan to focus on ways to enhance our family lives with nonfiction including reviewing nonfiction books!

What are some ways you incorporate nonfiction into your family’s reading repertoire?  Do your children have favorite nonfiction texts they ask you to read?

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4 Responses to “A New Bedtime Routine: Reading Aloud Nonfiction”

  1. Julie Niles Petersen Says:

    This is a very important post. Reading good non-fiction not only promotes a love of reading, but it also helps build knowledge of the world and of the word which is vital to overall academic success.

    I also enjoyed your guest post about incorporating nonfiction into the lives of preschoolers (see link above). I LOVED your Discovery Basket idea and I’m sure kids will love it too. I heard somewhere that to be an expert on anything, study it for ten minutes a day. These baskets and reading non-fiction texts enable kids to become experts on so many things. I would suggest adding some historical fiction in there, too.

  2. Book Chook Says:

    Great ideas here, Dawn. With older children, I love to capitalize on any interest they show in a topic, and use web sites like How Stuff Works, eHow, and Instructables, or google the topic, and explore the information we find online. That can lead to further investigation at the library, but is a great way to skim a topic to see if we want to find out more.

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