Nonfiction Today

As I’m really good at identifying all of the things I’m not doing well as a teacher (and beyond but that’s a whole other thing), here we go again. I started the year off well with some multi-day read alouds. We read some really fun fiction chapter books and the kids looked forward to that time every day. Our current language arts unit is a nonfiction one. We’ve read some awesome pictures books and I told the kids we’d start a longer book for our afternoon read aloud time. And then I couldn’t find anything I was excited about and thought they’d be excited about. And it was December and finding a good book was not a top priority.

Then I stopped to pick up books from the library one day and scanned the New Arrivals shelf. I grabbed a couple of possibilities. This one won.

I remember Kate Messner writing about it and about how she coauthored it with her sister. So far we’ve read the introductory information and we just started Mystery #1. The book starts off teaching about forensics and then has several mysteries for readers to solve, using what they learned. My third graders had many theories and predictions about evidence and suspects from just our first day in this mystery. I wasn’t sure we’d do all four of the mysteries in the book but now I think they won’t let me skip any.

The book is so thoughtfully designed and is super engaging. It is exactly what I wanted for a multi-day nonfiction read aloud.

For my own reading, I just started Christina Soontornvat’s All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys Soccer Team. I am frustrated that I need to teach and take a shower and do other things that take me away from the book. And I already know what’s going to happen! That is some compelling writing to pull me in when I remember the events clearly. The photos and diagrams and sidebars in the book are also phenomenal.

Both of these nonfiction books are ones I checked out from the library but am now ordering because I need to own them. It is wonderful to teach in a time with such fabulous nonfiction available for kids.

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