Why the focus on non-fiction writing?

Coffeen has decided to increase the number of non-fiction books in the classroom reading groups and lessons for a variety of reasons.

  1. Non-fiction books are about science, social studies, history, technology, music, and art. With the increasing demands on standards, non-fiction text helps teachers teach a variety of subjects across the curriculum. Two-thirds of the PAWS test includes non-fiction reading passages.
  2. Most of the reading an average adult does is non-fiction. Adults need to read job descriptions, applications, newspapers, flyers, maps, schedules, and even menus. College classes are filled with non-fiction texts!
  3. Non-fiction texts are organized very differently depending on the type of text. They can describe, sequence, compare/contrast or show cause and effect. Students need time to learn and understand how to read the different structures non-fiction text provides.
  4. Non-fiction text increases comprehension. According to Susan Zimmerman, the 7 Keys to Comprehension are: Sensory (Visual) Images, Background Knowledge, Questioning, Drawing Inferences, Determining Importance, Synthesizing (putting it all together) and Fix-Up strategies. Non-fiction text allows kids the opportunity to “try out” these strategies and become successful readers.