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Themes, Topics & Categories > Pairing Fiction and Nonfiction

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message 1: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments One of my favorite approaches to literature in the classroom is pairing a nonfiction title with a related fiction one. For readers, this helps give them the necessary background knowledge they may need to understand events in the fictional story or just peak their interest in the subject in general, while at the same time exposing them to multiple genres. As a teacher, this approach also allowed me to bring in books at various reading levels to help reach all my students.

The first two books I've read the summer paired well together so I thought I'd share them:

The Camel Family (nonfiction)
Exiled Memoirs of a Camel (historical fiction)

(for middle grades)

Anyone else have other pairing suggestions?


message 2: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Here's another possible pairing:

Magnets Pulling Together, Pushing Apart (nonfiction)
Marta's Magnets (fiction)

(for elementary)


message 3: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments I was just on there the other day - awesome site! I have to explore it further. Does she list pairings on there? Maybe we just need to link to that?! ;)


message 4: by Ronda (new)

Ronda (thebookdragon) Pairing fiction and nonfiction makes for a powerful learning tool. In my 10th grade year (many years ago), I had the option of taking "combined studies" where the English and History teachers combined forces and lessons and we studied the literature of and about the periods we were learning in history. That combined class made a huge impact on my learning. I wasn't attempting to learn either area in some educational vacuum. This past year, I started pairing fiction and non-fiction books with my read-alouds. One of our Volunteer State Book Award books was An Island Grows. I shared that with a non-fiction book about volcanoes. When I found a picture book to share, I would just search my catalog for a non-fiction book of similar interest/reading level. Some examples included: Tudley Didn't Know with books about pond habitats; Tacky the Penguin with books about read penguins;
Frog and Toad with books about, well, frogs and toads. You get the idea. It gave me an opportunity to reinforce differences (and similarities in some cases) between fiction and non-fiction. I want to do more of this next year with my older students. What a great thread!


message 5: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Ronda wrote: "Pairing fiction and nonfiction makes for a powerful learning tool. In my 10th grade year (many years ago), I had the option of taking "combined studies" where the English and History teachers comb..."

Oh, I like the idea of "combined studies"! I remember loving my world history teacher in Grade 12 because we actually got to read historical fiction. I learned much more from that than I ever would have from a textbook.

What grade are you working with?


message 6: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Okay, here's a different pairing for today:

On the Banks of Plum Creek (historical fiction)
Searching for Laura Ingalls (nonfiction)

(upper elementary)


message 7: by Ronda (new)

Ronda (thebookdragon) I got a lot more out of both classes and I think a lot of it was because of getting some context. I'm the library media specialist for about 950 K-5 students.

Bernadette wrote: "Ronda wrote: "Pairing fiction and nonfiction makes for a powerful learning tool. In my 10th grade year (many years ago), I had the option of taking "combined studies" where the English and History..."

Ronda wrote: "Pairing fiction and nonfiction makes for a powerful learning tool. In my 10th grade year (many years ago), I had the option of taking "combined studies" where the English and History teachers comb..."




message 8: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Ronda wrote: "I got a lot more out of both classes and I think a lot of it was because of getting some context. I'm the library media specialist for about 950 K-5 students. "

What a fun job!! I dream of being surrounded by books and media in a library. :)




message 9: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Since we're on a history kick - and one subject I've had to teach a lot is ancient Egypt - here's a related pairing:

Tut, Tut (fiction)
Mummies, Pyramids, and Pharaohs A Book About Ancient Egypt (nonfiction)

And an awesome, interactive website about ancient Egypt:
http://www.eternalegypt.org/


message 10: by Ronda (new)

Ronda (thebookdragon) What grades are you working with? I"ve been surprised that there hasn't been a big interest in Egypt with my kids--they've been more interested in Greek mythology (mostly in thanks to Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series I suspect. There's another pairing: The Percy Jackson series and Greek mythology in the 300s and Greek History in the 900s. Cool!

Bernadette wrote: "Since we're on a history kick - and one subject I've had to teach a lot is ancient Egypt - here's a related pairing:

Tut, Tut (fiction)
[book:Mummies, Pyramids, and Pharaohs A Book ..."





message 11: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Ronda wrote: "What grades are you working with? I"ve been surprised that there hasn't been a big interest in Egypt with my kids--they've been more interested in Greek mythology (mostly in thanks to Rick Riordan..."

Usually 3rd to 5th...but I teach in Egypt, which just makes avoiding ancient Egypt near impossible. ;) I found myself and my students a bit bored with the subject and needing a fresh look. The students really enjoyed Tut, Tut and other similar fiction/fantasy stories to go along with all the facts!




message 12: by Ronda (new)

Ronda (thebookdragon) They might also enjoy the Ulysses Moore books. The Long-Lost Map finds the kids transported from modern England to Ancient Egypt. http://www.kidsreads.com/reviews/0439... There's also the Danger Boy series http://www.dangerboy.com/book1.htm

These don't focus specifically on Egypt, but if you've got kids looking for more, more, more! fiction that includes Egyptian mythology and history (in varying degrees), these might work well for you.


message 13: by Ronda (new)

Ronda (thebookdragon) For Earth Day, I paired these two titles:

Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbrey
by Melissa Eskridge Slaymaker

and

Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman

After reading them, I had the students brainstorm why I would choose to share those stories for Earth Day. They always got the idea and after that, were able to come up with some great ideas about how they could use some of the same ideas from these stories.

Because Bottle Houses is done as a picture book, I made it a special point to show them the website highlighting photos from the actual Bottle Village out in California.

It was one of my favorite lessons from last year.


message 14: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Chandra wrote: "Also, this book just popped up on my radar today and it looks really interesting and surely could be paired with any fun fiction book about space travel:

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 "


I like the sound of the Flight of Apollo!




message 15: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Ronda wrote: "For Earth Day, I paired these two titles:

Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbrey
by Melissa Eskridge Slaymaker

and

Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman"


More great books to add to my wish list! I love the environmental theme of these.




message 16: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Ronda wrote: "There's also the Danger Boy series http://www.dangerboy.com/book1.htm"

Danger Boy sounds good, too. The description of the main character, though, has me thinking the book may be "too American" for my Egyptian students, with baseball cards and everything. Do you think other cultures will be able to relate to him?




message 17: by Ronda (new)

Ronda (thebookdragon) Bernadette wrote: "Ronda wrote: "There's also the Danger Boy series http://www.dangerboy.com/book1.htm"

Danger Boy sounds good, too. The description of the main character, though, has me thinking the book may be "to..."


Re other cultures being able to relate, I'm just not sure. It's set in a kind of alternate future and then pops back and forth in both times and cultures, including that of an alien race. I suspect that it would be a relatable (is that a word?) as many other sci fi titles. If any of your younguns try it, I'd love to know what they think.


message 18: by Aylin (new)

Aylin (Aylin☼) Ronda wrote: "What grades are you working with? I"ve been surprised that there hasn't been a big interest in Egypt with my kids--they've been more interested in Greek mythology (mostly in thanks to Rick Riordan..."

Agree. My 10 year old son read the Rick Riordan Percy Jackson books. He started talking about Greek Mythology a bit so I left out an Usborne book on Greek Mythology and he picked it up and read it!


message 19: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Aylin wrote: "Ronda wrote: "What grades are you working with? I"ve been surprised that there hasn't been a big interest in Egypt with my kids--they've been more interested in Greek mythology (mostly in thanks to Rick Riordan...

Agree. My 10 year old son read the Rick Riordan Percy Jackson books. He started talking about Greek Mythology a bit so I left out an Usborne book on Greek Mythology and he picked it up and read it!"


Greek Mythology is popular here in Egypt, too! During my last author visit, a fifth grade class shared some of the Greek myths they themselves had written. Fun stuff!




message 20: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Esperanza Rising (fiction)
Harvest (nonfiction)

A lot of good background knowledge in Harvest about migrant workers!

(upper elementary)


message 21: by Dennis (new)

Dennis E. (DennisRandall) Bernadette wrote: "One of my favorite approaches to literature in the classroom is pairing a nonfiction title with a related fiction one. For readers, this helps give them the necessary background knowledge they may ..." Good I like your style , you have a unique understanding of children and that is what all teachers need these day's . To know a child is to become the child .


message 22: by Miriam (new)

Miriam | 55 comments @Aylin et al. If your son is getting into mythology, you might do the same type pairing with a Norse mythology book (I love the illustrations in the D'Aulairs) with Diana Wynne Jones' Eight Days of Luke. It also features boys having adventures, and is funny.


message 23: by Aylin (new)

Aylin (Aylin☼) Miriam- That's a great idea! I've never heard of that books but it looks like one he'd like. Thanks for the tip! I've also heard great things about D'Aulairs (both Greek and Norse Myths).

Tolkien also uses Norse Mythology come to think of it. (A tripling?) My son and I are actualy reading "The Hobbit" together now. He read it last year and I've always wanted to try to read it again (tried Tolkien as a child and could not get into it but having a different experience now as an adult). My son tried reading "Lord of the Rings" as well but got bogged down in it. He recently turned 10 so he was probably too young last year. I haven't read it yet but maybe after we finish the Hobbit we'll continue on with LOTR and see how it goes. I like reading to my children before bed even though they read books on their own all the time. It's a ritual we have and I get to read some books that passed me by the first time.


message 24: by Miriam (last edited Jul 10, 2009 05:53PM) (new)

Miriam | 55 comments Eight Days of Luke is interesting because it does take characters and stories directly from the myths -- so if you read the myths first you will figure out pretty soon into the story who is who. But if you don't know the myths it is a suprise at the end.

I loooved Hobbit from age about 4 on, but didn't get into LOTR til high school. The trilogy isn't so much too hard for kids as too slow. Plus I was scared of the Nazgul!


message 25: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Sansom To teach the difference between fiction and nonfiction I have a 6 week unit for first grade. I use Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey paired with either Ducks! by Gail Gibbons or Ducks Don't Get Wet (sorry, can't pull the author out of my head!). Add in a couple of websites about ducks, some map skills, and some writing...1st graders doing research!

Also,
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
All About Owls by Arnosky




message 26: by Miriam (new)

Miriam | 55 comments ... or Owls in the Family by Farley Moffat?


message 27: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments Shannon wrote: "To teach the difference between fiction and nonfiction I have a 6 week unit for first grade. I use Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey paired with either Ducks! by Gail Gibbons or Ducks Don..."

I love Gail Gibbons! This sounds like an excellent unit.


message 28: by Ronda (new)

Ronda (thebookdragon) Shannon wrote: "To teach the difference between fiction and nonfiction I have a 6 week unit for first grade. I use Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey paired with either Ducks! by Gail Gibbons or Ducks Don..."

I love this idea!


message 29: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 45 comments So, I've been snorkeling with a sea turtle a few times recently and was reminded of one of my favorite stories:

Turtle Bay (realistic fiction)

And though I never paired this in the classroom, I think it's a perfect introduction into marine life and turtles. I'm also looking for info on turtles for myself so I can help identify the turtle I am swimming with and I realized I didn't know as much as I would like to. (She is endangered and a local environmental group keeps a database on turtle sightings in our waters.) Searching online, I found many nonfiction titles on sea turtles. I've not read any of these nonfiction titles so can anyone suggest one or something else?

Sea Turtles
The Life Cycle of a Sea Turtle
Sea Turtle Journey The Story of a Loggerhead Turtle
Sea Turtles


message 30: by Miriam (new)

Miriam | 55 comments For marine life, isn't there also a Madeline L'Engle novel where a teenager is working at a dolphin research facility? Maybe in the Austin series.


message 31: by LauraW (new)

LauraW (LauraLynnWalsh) | 75 comments I just finished reading The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, which is (in part) about the battle of Gettysburg. Does anyone know of a good non-fiction title that could be paired with it? It would preferably be about the same reading level and maturity level, my guess, about 5th though 7th grade.


message 32: by Ronda (last edited Jul 16, 2009 09:00AM) (new)

Ronda (thebookdragon) I do not know of any personally, but you might try this link to Lesson Planet: http://www.lessonplanet.com/search?gr...

One of the lessons refers to the "graphic nonfiction novel, The Battle of Gettysburg: Spilled Blood on Sacred Ground" There are also references to some primary source docs.


message 33: by Faith (new)

Faith Brautigam Pair The Mostly True Adventures of Homer Figg with The Long Road to Gettsyburg by Jim Murphy. It's a wonderful piece of history and follows teenaged soldiers to/through the battle--soldiers similar in age to Homer's brother.


message 34: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Sansom If you are interested in my 1st grade duck unit, just let me know...I'll email the lesson plans to you. Wait till school starts though...all my lesson plans are in the computer at school.


message 35: by Luann (new)

Luann (AZbookgal) | 44 comments Miriam wrote: "For marine life, isn't there also a Madeline L'Engle novel where a teenager is working at a dolphin research facility? Maybe in the Austin series."

A Ring of Endless Light


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