Getting Your Kids To Read Nonfiction
It can be quite a struggle to get our kids reading different genres. As our Christian school talked about in a previous blog, nonfiction is extremely important to know how to read and understand. But because of its jargon, technical text, and lack of dialogue, many kids tend to shy away from nonfiction.
If you’ve seen your child gravitate towards graphic novels, magazines, or other illustrated stories that you worry aren’t challenging them in the way that nonfiction can, Resurrection Christian School is here to offer some guidance. Find ways to help your child get into nonfiction, and contact RCS to learn more about our private elementary, middle, and high school enrollment!
Watching TV or movies? you might be thinking. How is that going to help a child read? The answer boils down to piquing a child’s interest. Watching phenomenal shows like “Planet Earth” or “Blue Planet” is enough to fascinate anyone about our world. This creates a perfect segue into reading nonfiction and learning more.
You don’t only have to show documentaries, however. If your child loves “The Mummy” or “Monster House” or any other movie, there are plenty of nonfiction opportunities that can coincide with these fictional films. Find books about ancient Egypt or about haunted houses around the U.S. at your local library. So much of getting a child interested in nonfiction is by making it relevant and interesting to their life.
Lead By Example
One of the best ways you can help your child get into nonfiction is by reading it yourself. It’s powerful for a child to see what their parents or guardians are reading and to hear about it. It’s even more powerful for you to explain to your child “This book is hard for me to read, and nonfiction isn’t my favorite genre, but I want to challenge myself and continue to grow as a reader.”
Make a rule that for every trip to the library, one nonfiction book needs to be picked out. Kids nonfiction books are wonderful in that they’re much easier to read and implement tons of great pictures. By familiarizing your children with nonfiction at an early age, they will be able to build upon this type of reading skill as they get older.
If you’re cringing because you never did this with your now-teenager, not to worry! There are other ways to get your child into nonfiction, such as…
Make an incentive for your child to go above and beyond with reading nonfiction (this is particularly great for the summer). If they do any of the following projects, come up with a reasonable reward (like a trip to the mall and/or taking them out for dinner at their favorite spot):
- Creating a presentation on a historical figure, such as a PowerPoint or Prezi or 3D tri-fold board
- Tracking a modern trend (such as a political or environmental issue) and compiling a report
- Making a historical fiction movie based on a true, past event
- Writing a newspaper for one specific date in the past, covering news, lifestyle, opinions, etc.
Read and Discuss
Especially for older kids or children who are good independent readers, it can be a fun activity for you two to share in to pick a common nonfiction text and discuss it. Whether it’s an article that you share with each other once a week or a chapter from a biography, you and your kids will love the learning and connection that comes from this activity.
Use Great Nonfiction Texts
There are countless nonfiction texts that kids will find fascinating, that almost feel like fiction. Here are just a few books to look into:
- “Girls Who Code” by Reshma Saujani
- “Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York” by Amy Hill Hearth
- “Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear” by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall
- “Locomotive” by Brian Floca
- “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba
- “I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark” by Debbie Levy
As always, chat with your child’s Resurrection Christian School teacher or a local librarian for even more book ideas!
At Resurrection Christian School, we are committed to providing a holistic education that truly prepares children for the future. By expanding and growing in literacy skills, your child will be more prepared for academic success — at every grade level and beyond. It’s important that we always challenge ourselves to continue growing as readers and students, and by reading nonfiction, we do just that.
If you’re interested in seeing the difference in your child’s academics, find time to schedule a tour with Resurrection Christian School in Loveland! We offer the best education for every student. From school hours to extracurricular activities and everything in between, we know that our Christian school will provide the community, education, and joy that your child deserves.