I Don’t Read Nonfiction, Now What?

The end of first semester is a mad dash to tie up loose ends for all grade levels and content areas.  For many of my English classes it also means getting in that nonfiction reading that was required, but put off during the beginning of the school year.  While I was planning for my last round of book talks I had an idea. I decided to create a genre-a like one-pager to help learnes connect what they like in their fiction reading to reading Nonfiction books.




When I created the initial list of genres to compare to  nonfiction areas I started with our most checked out areas first.  In my high school the most checked out fiction materials come from fantasy, dystopian, romance, and realistic fiction.  Using these areas as starts I came up with comparable Dewey sections that might engage each type of reader.  As I went through each section matching ideas or themes I was able to connect each fiction genre to at least two other Nonfiction areas of study.  




I chose to use Canva to create my one-pager for the students.  I found a library infographic design and changed it around to meet the needs of this project.  I wanted big bold statements for the fiction genres, and more of a list feel for the nonfiction area options.  I contemplated using dewey numbers on the list for each nonfiction area, but ultimately ruled against it for now just because of clutter on the page. Here is how it turned out, Nonfiction Book Alike Sheet.   I may go back and add matching dewey numbers to this as I use it with more classes. Once it was created I printed physical copies to hand out to students during the book talks, but also shared the document with the teachers so they could add it to their classroom LMS for students to access as well.  


Teaching It


The first lesson I taught with this document was eye opening.  I handed out the first paper copies to the students and they immediately started asking questions.  I learned after the first class to plan more time for discussion on the genres and nonfiction matches .  Students were interested in learning more about some of the adventure/biographical stories especially that they hadn’t thought about before.  Based on some of the students’ questions in the future I will consider either adding author suggestions to the sheet or possibly creating an entirely different sheet of just “author alikes” for nonfiction areas as well.  


The majority of our students no matter the grade level come to us having read mostly fiction.  Either for enjoyment or for classroom assignments, fiction is everywhere.  Giving students ideas of nonfiction titles that might peak their interest may give them a whole new area of the library to enjoy.  Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, we should be able to find something for everyone in our libraries.


Author: Elizabeth Libberton

Elizabeth Libberton is the library media specialist at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles Illinois. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal. She is a member of the ALA Awards Selection Committee. Also, she is a member of the steering committee for the AISLE Lincoln Book Award.

Categories: Literacy, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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