National Non-Fiction November

*Updated for 2018

Most of the books that children and young people read are likely to be fiction. Reading, as we all know, is good for development, so if they are reading, why does it matter what they are reading?

A study published this year found that college students who read general non-fiction, academic journals or literary fiction used more complex sentences in their writing than those who read genre fiction or exclusively web-based aggregators like Reddit, Tumblr, and BuzzFeed. So according to this study, not all reading is equal. 

Research (Hadaway, Vardell, and Young 2002) argues that, although fiction is more commonly used in the classroom, high-stakes tests tend to contain more non-fiction than fiction and students need to develop the skills to read and analyse these passages. 

Another benefit of non-fiction reading is that it has been found to have an impact on students’ background knowledge. A study by Marzano in 2000 showed that it can account for as much as 33% of variance in student achievement.

Children and young people naturally have incredibly curious minds, they often want to know why and how things work. Non-fiction reading has the potential to motivate young children to read by tapping into their personal interests (Caswell & Duke in 1998).

National Non-fiction November is the Federation of Children’s Book Groups’ annual celebration of all things factual and it's more than about just reading textbooks. The theme this year is ‘Food and Festivals Around the World’. Here are some ideas on how to get your class involved with Non-fiction November.

Here is another document with interesting ideas on how to engage your students with non-fiction in the classroom.

If you already use non-fiction in your classroom, please feel free to share your ideas and experience.

What about you? How much non-fiction do you read in your spare time? 

Personally, I am not an avid non-fiction reader. I have read non-fiction books in the past but I often find they are difficult to get into when they’re full of facts and dates. Sometimes you just want an entertaining book to distract you from the long working day.

However, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to read 5 non-fiction books. Yes, ambitious I know and so far this year, I have finished one non-fiction book. The non-fiction book I immensely enjoyed completing was The Secrets of Rome: Love and Death in the Eternal City. 

I was determined to find a book based in Rome before my Roman holiday during the summer, I eventually chose this non-fiction over a fictional one. It’s unlike your run of the mill history book. With no regard to the chronological order of historical events, the author uses his experience of growing up in Rome to highlight areas where interesting events took place. This book helped bring Rome to life when I was there and certainly encouraged a return trip.

My next non-fiction book is Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell. I’m already a fan of his writing so I’m looking forward to it. Whilst I’m not going to hit my target of non-fiction this year, I will certainly be reading more non-fiction in the future.

Please share what you like to read or what you are currently reading!

Have you read Headteacher, Graham Chisnell’s blog post on the ideas his school used to teach oracy during Oracy Week in September?

Comments are closed