One of the important lessons I want to teach my students earlier in the year is the importance of preview with reading both fiction and non-fiction. My students struggled with transferring their preview skills to non-fiction reading. Students are hesitant to use their preview skills, and I wanted to make sure through a mini lesson that students understood how to use these skills when reading a Wonder of the Day. We focused on How Great is the Great Barrier Reef? which connects to our life science unit.
Our preview lesson included the following five steps:
#1 skim the article for non-fiction text features
#2 search for important vocabulary words (use the list of vocabulary provided)
#3 look for new facts that might be included in text, captions, links
#4 watch the video to get a visual of the wonder in addition listening for new facts
After the students completed this mini-lesson they practiced on a wonder of their choice. We ended the focus lesson with a conversation about the importance of background knowledge (BK) prior to reading a new wonder of the day. I bet this strategy will help your students become more active learners with reading non-fiction.