Nonfiction Literature for Early Learners

Posted March 10, 2017 – AWE Learning Staff

Nonfiction literature

Early learners are curious individuals and are intrigued by the people and environment around them. Exposure to nonfiction works as part of early literacy development helps build knowledge and familiarity with the real world. This exposure can be via digital learning, read-alouds, or exploration of text and images on their own. According to Reading Rockets, nonfiction books give early learners a chance to absorb new concepts and increase their vocabulary. Consequently, readers gain a greater foundation to prepare them for other subject matter.

Nonfiction often contains aspects that are wholly unique to it as a genre. As early learners are introduced to nonfiction, it is important to discuss and identify these features. These discussions will help the student comprehend the information and build their foundation of literacy skills. These text features can include captions, comparisons, index, glossary, graphics, illustrations and photographs, maps, special print, subtitles, and a table of contents.

Common Core State Standards have placed an increased focus on exposure to nonfiction texts for early learners. From kindergarten through fifth grade, to meet these standards requires an equal balance between informational and literary reading. Informational reading refers to nonfiction texts in STREAM subject areas, as well as history/social studies. As children progress in school, there is a greater focus on nonfiction texts in the curriculum.

It is often common for students to prefer fiction over non-fiction, as the former typically sparks a greater sense of imagination. Non-fiction, however, prepares learners and provides necessary information as they progress in school and life. Libraries, after school programs, and child care centers are tremendous resources that expose early learners to different types of texts, as well as a variety of genres. According to Great Schools, here are some tips to help engage your child’s interest in nonfiction reading:

  • Pursue the passion: Find books around a student’s interests. Libraries offer books on all subject matters
  • More is more: Offer different examples of non-fiction reading materials: including newspapers, magazines, textbooks and more
  • Be the bookworm: Children look up to those around them. Read a range of nonfiction and fiction materials, and share information you learn
  • Reality check: Make a real-world connection between the subject matter and current events
  • Stay informed: Ask your child’s educators if the reading list includes nonfiction texts

Additionally, the resources below offer non-fiction text suggestions for your early learners:


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