The DK readers are always well planned and include all of those great nonfiction text features we teach. The first teaching I have is to have students predict what they will learn based on the cover. Having your kids brainstorm guiding questions and topics they’ll want to explore helps get the juices flowing.
With the DK readers, one thing I love is how they are organized. In this book, the topics are outlined in the table of contents…types of snakes, how they move, what they eat, how babies are born (yep it’s in there), and snakes’ predators. Here’s a glimpse of the inside from Amazon. The photographs are just so cool, and my tutorial student last week was amazed that snakes even eat animals as big as a pig!
Another topic that’s great for this book are text features. You might have your students do a text features scavenger hunt. This free resource from An Elementary Edventure works well. Students can work through the book to record the features they see/find and what they learn from them.
Once students have read through the book, it’s a great time for a main idea lesson. Students can jot down the big ideas they find and pull them together to determine the big idea. There is a graphic organizer in my teaching bundle, but I also enjoy having students stop and jot their thinking on sticky notes. These ideas can be sorted and analyzed through group discussion and the main idea determined based on the groups’ discussions.
Fact and Opinion
Finally, with nonfiction, teachers can work on facts and opinions. Now of course, you can find facts in this books, but opinions would need to be created by the readers. There is a sorting mat within my unit, and I encourage creating an anchor chart liks the one to the left to use with this lesson.
Last summer, when I was tutoring a middle grades boy, I knew this was the perfect book, so I put together a unit for it. It includes materials for vocabulary, a treemap, main idea, questioning page, fact/opinion, snake research, and writing. Here’s a glimpse of it.
Whether you use this book as a mentor text, in guided reading, or as an interactive read aloud, there are lots of teaching options kids would love. In fact, you might just look for other snake themed books to include with it for lots of fun research and learning.