Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsburg at Unleashing Readers cohost It's Monday! What are You Reading weekly on their blogs. To see what others are reading and recommending each Monday, or to participate, be sure to head over to these blogs.
Hooray for summer! I feel like I can finally return to some recreational reading, as most of my end-of-the-school year reading was about exploration and colonization, as I was working hard to complete some integrated nonfiction and social studies units. That being said, I have some recommendations for anyone who is trying to support nonfiction reading with social studies texts.
An important aspect of our nonfiction unit for fifth-graders has to do with their understanding and interpretation of text features, multiple main ideas, and central ideas. The World Made New is a National Geographic publication by John W. Glenn and Marc Aronson and it is full of timelines, quick facts, captions, headings, and text inserts. There are also many opportunities to teach students to accumulate information, take notes, and integrate concepts.
Another skill that we emphasize for students deals with recognizing biases: whose points of view are included and whose are not? what language choices has the author made? what information has been included and what might have been left out? You Wouldn't Want to Sail With Christopher Columbus! by Fiona MacDonald and David Salariya provided many opportunities for lessons about these concepts, as well as content information about the Age of Exploration. Incidentally, there are several more books in this series that cover other explorers and time periods of American history.
Explorers Who Got Lost by Diane Sansevere-Dreher provided some narrative nonfiction for our unit, as well as content information about several specific explorers. The chapters are a little long, but still offer the opportunity to teach students how to tackle nonfiction that doesn't have clear headers and text features.
I am currently finishing an adult book, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. If anyone is looking for a book that explores the "what if" scenarios that can put people into ethical situations, I recommend this one. I also have a wonderful book pile and am happily back into my reading life. Promising an assortment of books for next week!