Nonfiction Comprehension Activities

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Nonfiction reading is sometimes more difficult for students as it requires processing a great deal of information. These activities support students who are developing reading comprehension skills with nonfiction texts.

Nonfiction Reading Comprehension

The skills students learn to comprehend fiction do not necessarily cross over into reading nonfiction texts. Not only are nonfiction texts generally written at a higher Lexile level, but often contain multiple facts that need to be remembered. Additionally, while students may be accustomed to reading every word of a fiction text, nonfiction texts are arranged in ways that students can find the information they need without examining every word. The high-interest activities in this asset support student comprehension of nonfiction texts through peer support while summarizing, examining text features, and identifying key points.

Tweet It

Students will summarize non-fiction texts by reducing the material to a 280-character tweet.

Grade level: 3rd - 12th

Materials:

  • nonfiction texts
  • social media template

Procedure:

  • Divide students into pairs.
  • One student will read a paragraph or a section of the text.
  • The other students will create a tweet that summarizes what the other student read in less than 280 characters.
  • The reader will check the writer's work.
  • Students will trade positions with the writer becoming the reader and the reader becoming the writer.

Identifying Key Details

Students will work collaboratively to identify the key details of a nonfiction text.

Grade level: 3rd - 12th Grade

Materials:

  • nonfiction text
  • two colors of sticky notes

Procedure:

  • Provide students with a nonfiction text and one color of sticky notes.
  • Have students read a paragraph or section of the text independently and write each of the key details they identify on a separate sticky note.
  • Divide students into small groups.
  • Have students match the key details that each of them identified to see where they agree and discuss differences.
  • Have students defend their differences and come to a consensus as a group about what are the most important details and why.
  • Have groups rewrite their agreed key details on a different color of a sticky note.
  • Have a class discussion about what each group decided and why.

Text Features

Students will examine how text features in textbooks can support comprehension. Students will also demonstrate what good readers do by asking questions about these features.

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