Non-Fiction Activities for first graders
Teaching non-fiction to primary students can be a big task! It seems that we are all drawn to fiction content, but young students really love non-fiction texts as well. It’s important to teach them how to read non-fiction texts and the different text features so that they can fully enjoy and understand the text.
To introduce non-fiction, it’s fun to have a book picnic. Be very intentional about picking non-fiction books from all topics and books that will interest your students. If you know many of your students love farm animals, make sure you have some non-fiction books about farm animals. Set up four or five different blankets around the room and set 5-10 books at each blanket. Group your students in groups of 4 or 5 and place one group per blanket. Give them about 5-10 minus (you know your students best!) to explore these books.
At the first blanket, they should really be just looking at the pictures and reading. At the second or third blanket, start encouraging them to look for what’s different about these books compared to books they normally read.
Have your students pick a book from their blanket and bring it to the carpet. Sit in a circle and share something they noticed about the book. They should be noticing the different text features that non-fiction texts have compared to fiction texts.
Use An Anchor Chart With Real Examples
When teaching non-fiction texts and text features to your students, it’s important to show them real examples. I pick a text that has most the text features we will discuss and photo copy the examples in our school printer. Then, I’ll put them on a large anchor chart paper. It’s nothing fancy. I also use small posters that I made to use as an example as well. However, I think the real life examples are so important when teaching young students.
Use a scavenger hunt
Students love scavenger hunts! Students can use the scavenger hunt booklet for this activity. Each day, discuss one text feature. Then, have students pick a non-fiction text to find that text feature. If their text doesn’t have that text feature (because not all of them will!), then have them move on to another book. I only do one a day so that students can spend time looking for this text feature and really diving into the text.
Text Feature Hunt
Write The Room is a fun activity for any new skill and it’s no different for non-fiction texts. Students can walk around the room and identify the text feature on the card. This activity will help them begin to learn the text features on their own in and out of texts.
Reading Passage Color Codes
Exposing students to different types of text is important. Not everything they read will be a book! With these passages, students identify different text features and highlight/color it to show they found it. This is an engaging way for you to assess what they have learned about non-fiction texts.
Non-Fiction Bingo Boards
When teaching non-fiction and reviewing it throughout the weeks, these BINGO boards will come in handy. You can play this in whole group or small group. Students have their own BINGO board. You will draw a card and say the text feature and they will put their marker on the picture of that text feature. This is a fun way to practice and review text features. Scroll to the bottom of this post to grab your free boards!
Teaching non-fiction text features can be fun and engaging! If you want to see the resource I use to teach non-fiction, click here or click the picture below.
Related Post: Teaching Main Character & Character Traits