Read Nonfiction to Aid in Research

Writing

Read Nonfiction to Aid in Research

Posted on May 20, 2008

Read Nonfiction to Aid in Research

The Living Rainforest An Animal Alphabet by Paul KratterNonfiction picture books are a growing section in many school and public libraries. Intended for students of all ages, these quick-read fact books provide a fabulous resource for building background knowledge on a historical event, animal study, human disease, solar system, famous inventor, or whatever the research topic.

Specifically consider the power of A-Z books, also known as alphabet books. These books aren't just for kindergartners anymore! These 26-page fact books not only give key facts and vocabulary words on a given subject, but the visual images (graphics, photographs, diagrams, etc.) are very informative, too. Download an example.

Try a T-Chart for Note Taking

Often, nonfiction writing leads to comparing/contrasting two or more items. And with that mode of writing, most teachers assume the research should be collected within a Venn Diagram. However, while the two overlapping circles may separate information, the Venn Diagram doesn't organize it. A better choice is the T-Chart. With the common features listed in the middle, a student can collect relevant information from the content-area reading and keep it all organized within a simple table. Download a science example.

This note-taking technique also lends itself to easily revealing the two common methods of organizing compare-contrast information in writing.

Method #1: Organize by Item. Write all about Item A and then all about Item B.

Method #2: Organize by Feature. Focusing on one feature at a time, explain how it relates to Item A & B. Then focus on a second feature and how it relates to Item A & B. Continue this pattern.