Friday, June 14, 2013

Teaching Informational or Expository Texts in K and 1st Grade

Examples of Expository Text: 
Informative texts
True fact books
Text books 
Biographies
Newspapers
Magazines
Cookbooks
Dictionaries, thesauruses and encyclopedias
Websites (kids.nationalgeographic.com is a great example to show kids)

Tip From My Classroom:
I taught non fiction by focusing on specific topics. For kindergartners you can easily incorporate these skills in a unit on Apples, Pumpkins, George Washington, etc. 
In 1st grade I had a week long unit on Inventors and a month long unit on Black History. Later, we used students acquired knowledge to create their own non-fiction book about Texas during a 2 week unit.
*I will post these units later this summer when I am no longer 9 months pregnant*

How to Begin:
Start whole group by visually comparing and contrasting the difference between narrative and expository texts. Display a variety of books from each genre and ask students to verbally describe what they notice. Guide them to notice the differences in titles, book covers, illustrations vs. photographs, etc. Point out/review story elements in fiction books: characters, setting, problems, solutions, etc. 

This can be done strictly with verbal answers, using ‘pick-me-sticks’ or other tools to ensure all students are participating. Or you can make a class list, Anchor Chart, KWL chart or venn diagram comparing the two types of books. 

Once students have a firm grasp on the different types of books remove the fiction books and focus on the features of informational/expository texts.

Point out the various features of the book including:
Illustrations, photographs, graphics, charts, and maps.
Glossary, index and table of contents
Headlines and subheads
Labels, italics and bold face words

Books to use:
In the beginning it’s best to choose books the children can relate to. Choose topics they’re interested in or directly connected to their lives. After they’ve grasped many of the concepts choose books that expand their knowledge and world view. Introduce books about other cultures, **

Owls by Gail Gibbons
Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons
Trains by Gail Gibbons
Sharkopedia by Nancy Ellwood
Abraham Lincoln by Wil Mara
George Washington Carver by Lynea Bowdish
Amelia Earhart  by Wil Mara
Insect (DK Eyewitness Books) by Laurence Mound

Book Series to Look For:
Gail Gibbons nonfiction books

Ways to assess students understanding of the book:
Oral retelling
Drawings
Accompanying worksheets
Quizzes


More Online Resources
Free expository writing worksheets from I Love First Grade
Starting a Nonfiction Writing Unit from A Place Called Kindergarten: 

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