Sunday, February 15, 2015

RA RA Read: Read-Aloud or Easy Nonfiction

It's been a while since I've done a RA RA Read, but I finally finished the other Sunday posts I've been doing and I had some ideas for new themes that I've been saving. A few years ago I started getting interested in nonfiction for younger children, especially incorporating it into programs. Today I'm the organizing chair for the elementary and middle grade nonfiction for Cybils and include nonfiction in all my storytimes. I have storytimes specifically based around nonfiction themes and books - We Explore Nature, and outreach programs that heavily use nonfiction, like Autumnal Animalia. So, today I'm offering some of the authors and titles I use and recommend most frequently to introduce preschool children to nonfiction.

You'll probably quickly notice that when I say "nonfiction" I almost exclusively mean "science and animals", as I put into the title of this post. When I "read" nonfiction in storytime, it's always a dialogue with the children. Often we end up reading very little of the actual text as we discuss the art and concepts presented. Narrative nonfiction is a whole different bundle of twigs and I have strong feelings about picture book biographies anyways.

Authors

  • Jim Arnosky
    • A classic nature writer. Every Autumn Comes the Bear is a storytime favorite, but I've used many other titles - Bayou Babies, Racoons and Ripe Corn etc. to great effect.
  • Dianna Hutts Aston
    • Her series of books, gorgeously illustrated by Sylvia Long, have my favorite "layered" text; bold, simple sentences to read aloud, and more dense text for additional information. A Seed is Sleepy, An Egg is Quiet, etc.
  • Nic Bishop
    • He's not only a stunning nature photographer, he's quite a good writer too. His books are easily adapted to reading with small children. We use Snakes, Lizards, Butterflies and Moths, Frogs, and Marsupials on a regular basis.
  • Nicola Davies
    • A huge variety of books, focusing mainly on animals. Her "Flip the flap and find out" series is a mainstay of my outreach programs and we can spend an entire program just discussing the events in What Happens Next? I've also used Dolphin Baby and I'm looking forward to trying a program with Tiny Creatures
  • Suzi Eszterhas
    • These simple stories feature one animal's life cycle from birth to adulthood. They are adorable and make excellent read-alouds. I especially love Brown Bear because...bears.
  • Steve Jenkins
    • This is one of the most prolific nonfiction authors for young children. I've used his books in flannelboard matching games like What do you do with a tail like this? and another favorite of mine is Down Down Down.
  • April Pulley Sayre
  • Cathryn and John Sill
  • Melissa Stewart
    • My favorites are her weather/habitats series - Under the Snow, When rain falls, Beneath the sun.
  • Susan Stockdale
    • Her simple, rhyming stories work really well with toddlers as well as preschoolers. I love her latest, Stripes of all types, and I've used Fabulous Fishes for many, many storytimes.
Titles
A Small Selection of Narrative Nonfiction

2 comments:

Michael said...

Hi Jennifer

In 2011 you commented on an ALSC blog post debating whether to use themed storytimes. That is still available here:

http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/2011/10/to-theme-or-not-to-theme/

In your comment you linked to a Web site for your Preschool Interactive storytimes which was here

https://sites.google.com/site/jllprogrammingresources/

But now this page can't be found. Is this material available anywhere now? Thank you.

Michael Manchester

Jennifer said...

Michael - I am no longer doing Preschool Interactive regularly, but most of the old programs are still out there! I migrated all my program materials to a blog
http://inshortbusy.blogspot.com/