I often try to find great nonfiction books I can read aloud to my children. Most times, I allow their interests to dictate the books that we buy or check out from the library. Sometimes, I’ll throw in a book based on a topic of interest they may want to learn more about or a topic of study that I feel they need more practice with.
Below, I’ve chosen three books that I’ve read with my son, who is six. I’ve chosen a book related to history, one related to math, and one pertaining to science.
At the end of kindergarten, my son began learning about money. More specifically, he learned that Thomas Jefferson was on the nickel, Abraham Lincoln was on the penny, and George Washington was on the quarter. This created an interest in the Presidents. We are lucky to live outside of Washington D.C. and I am able to utilize the museums and other historical venues to help build his background knowledge, but I also turn to books. One book I turned to was George Washington — Soldier, Hero, President (DK Readers, Level 3: Reading Alone). I like the Readers series for two reasons. First, they provide quality nonfiction with various text features. This particular book provides a table of contents, an index, a glossary, captions, photographs, and information boxes. Second, by choosing to read a level or two higher than my son is ready for, I am able to provide him with information that he otherwise wouldn’t be able to read on his own, but yet it’s at a level that he can comprehend through listening. By reading aloud this book, I was able to help my son build his background knowledge of George Washington.
My son is currently learning his math facts. He is supposed to study them every day. I’m not a fan of flash cards, so I try to come up with different ways that he can practice his facts. One thing we’ve done is use dice. We roll them and use the two numbers that come up to create number sentences, either addition or subtraction. But, I always try to tie reading into everything we do. So, after brainstorming one day, I remembered two books that I used when I taught: The Hershey’s Kisses Addition Book and The Hershey’s Kisses Subtraction Book both by Jerry Pallotta. Chocolate + math = engaged learners! I read the books to my son and as we read, we used Hershey kisses to solve the number sentences. Then I provided him with additional number sentences and allowed him to use Hershey kisses to solve those problems.
My son has always been interested in animals. I’ve heard about this book for several years, and I’m not sure why it took me so long to buy it. What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? (Caldecott Honor Book) by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page encourages children to make predictions about different animals and the ways they use their body parts. The back of the book provides a more detailed description of each animal. I love to teach my son about different comprehension strategies that good readers use when reading. Making predictions is one of those strategies. This book made it easy to explicitly teach my son how to make predictions while reading and how confirming those predictions helps the reader understand what he is reading. Additionally, my son was able to learn more information about animals that interested him.
What are some of your child’s (or your) favorite nonfiction books to read aloud?
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